The effects of Columbine are still with us 20 years later—and it constantly encourages 2020 presidential candidate John Hickenlooper to fight for tougher gun reform.
“One of the real lessons we’ve learned from Columbine is that it’s not just the victims and the family members of victims who suffer trauma but really the student population and the broader community has some level of trauma as well,” the former Colorado governor explained.
Hickenlooper was governor during the 2012 shooting in Aurora, Colorado that left 12 people dead. In 2013, he signed state laws that tightened background checks, and limited gun magazines.
“We put universal background checks on the legislative agenda and every Republican businessperson I knew supported universal background checks, and I thought it wouldn’t be that big a deal,” he explained. “And yet, the National Rifle Association, the NRA, wouldn’t even negotiate with us on this.”
Ahead of Columbine’s 20th anniversary, Hickenlooper met with survivors of the Columbine shooting as well as the family members of victims of mass shootings.
“One of my beliefs is that the federal government needs to step up, and the federal government has the resources to understand what are the best practices by which you provide counseling and support for someone who has gone through intense trauma,” he said.