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Colorado calls for common-sense gun, mental health measures reverberate in wake of Las Vegas mass shooting

October 3, 2017, 10:22 am

After the obligatory “thoughts and prayers” statements from members of Congress have died down in the wake of the nation’s worst mass shooting in Las Vegas Sunday night, the prevailing national response seems to be cynicism, acceptance of a “new normal” and an overwhelming and crushing doubt that lawmakers will do anything to try to stop the relentless bloodshed.

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis

Boulder Democrat Jared Polis, who represents part of Eagle County in Congress, shares the national dismay but isn’t convinced nothing can be done, even though he serves in a chamber controlled by Republicans steadfastly opposed to even the most common-sense gun and mental health laws.

“I am devastated and horrified, but not shocked,” said Polis, who’s seeking the Democratic nomination to run for governor in 2018. “Mass shootings must not become the new normal. While I am praying for the victims and everyone affected, I am also calling on my fellow members of Congress to act. If not now, when? We can save lives while protecting our Second Amendment rights.”

Polis points to his co-sponsorship of the bipartisan Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act, requiring comprehensive background checks for firearm purchases. The bill’s primary sponsor is New York Republican Peter King.

Polis also opposed anti-gun violence prevention bills that would have kept the Veterans Affairs and Social Security Administration from entering mental health information into the federal background check database, and he supports a resolution to set up a congressional committee on gun violence prevention.

In a 2015 opinion piece in the Boulder Daily Camera, Polis voiced his support for comprehensive background checks, an end to the congressional ban on public health research into the causes of gun violence, and a ban on gun purchases by anyone on an FBI terrorism watch list.

Locally, Eagle County Public Health and Environment Director Chris Lindley announced in a letter to the Vail Daily that the county will soon be offering a mental health first-aid training course that will be free and open to the public.

Lindley also offered counseling services for anyone struggling with the psychological impacts of the Las Vegas shooting, pointing to these free, local 24/7 crisis services:

  • 24/7 Local Crisis Hotline: 888-207-4004
  • 24/7 Colorado Crisis Services Statewide Hotline: 844-493-TALK (8255)
  • 24/7 Text Line: Text TALK to 38255

The services also are there for anyone in any kind of mental-health crisis. A reminder occurred in Eagle on Monday when police and ambulance services responded to a “subject in crisis” on Fourth of July Road in Eagle Ranch.

“In this mountain community, where we have very limited mental health resources, it is key that we pull together and support one another,” Lindley wrote in his letter. “Whether we agree on things or not, we are all neighbors”

Ballot 1A in November asks voters to support a tax on recreational marijuana to direct an estimated $1.2 million a year to mental illness and substance abuse services in the Eagle River and Roaring Fork valleys.

Contacting members of Colorado’s congressional delegation:


Michael Bennet, Democrat

261 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-5852

Contact: www.bennet.senate.gov/?p=contact

Cory Gardner, Republican

354 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-5941

Contact: www.gardner.senate.gov/contact-cory/email-cory

House of Representatives

District 1 – Diane DeGette, Democrat

2111 Rayburn House Office Building

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

(202) 225-4431

Contact: https://degette.house.gov/contact

District 2 – Jared Polis, Democrat

1727 Longworth House Office Building

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

(202) 225-2161

Contact: https://polis.house.gov/contact/

District 3 – Scott Tipton, Republican

218 Cannon House Office Building

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

(202) 225-4761

Contact: https://tipton.house.gov/contact/email

District 4 – Ken Buck, Republican

1130 Longworth House Office Building

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

(202) 225-4676

Contact: https://buck.house.gov/contact

District 5 – Doug Lamborn, Republican2402 Rayburn House Office Building

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

(202) 225-4422

Contact: https://lamborn.house.gov/contact/

District 6 – Mike Coffman, Republican

2443 Rayburn House Office Building

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

(202) 225-7882

Contacts: https://coffman.house.gov/contact/

District 7 – Ed Perlmutter, Democrat

1410 Longworth House Office Building

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

(202) 225-2645

Contacts: https://perlmutter.house.gov/forms/writeyourrep/









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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is an award-winning freelance reporter based in the Vail Valley of Colorado, writing on health care, immigration, politics, the environment, energy, public lands, outdoor recreation and sports. His work has appeared in 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Colorado Independent, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the London Daily Mirror, the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, SKI Magazine, Atlantic Media's RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), Ski Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail and Westword (Denver). Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

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