On the morning of April 20, 1999, 12 children and one teacher were brutally murdered while attending school at Columbine High School in Colorado. In the one place where our children should be safe, in the one place where we should ensure their safety, we failed, and 13 innocent people lost their lives. There are no excuses that will suffice, there is only regret and haunting thoughts of what could have prevented this terrible day.
For educators and law enforcement, those that dedicate their lives to protecting our children, nothing was ever going to be the same. There was a silent vow to do everything possible to prevent another day like Columbine High School experienced. In every way possible schools were made more secure; school security personnel were added, uniformed school resource police officers were stationed at our schools, surveillance cameras installed, new security procedures were practiced and drilled, lock-downs were now as much a part of a school day as the old fire drills. But the old fire drills never generated the anxiety that comes with an "active shooter" drill in the hallways of our schools. The vow to protect our school children after Columbine was a solemn oath kept by law enforcement and educators to this day.
The tragedy did not change everyone, not everyone took steps to protect our school children from another day like April 20, 1999. The gun lobby and the National Rifle Association still fought for their right to sell any bullet and any gun, even assault weapons. Military-style semi-automatic assault weapons have only one purpose, to kill people in large numbers. No hunter needs it and no individual needs it to protect their home. Assault weapons were used in both the Columbine High School and Aurora Movie Theater massacres. Even though both of these deadly events occurred in Colorado, an 18-year-old in this state can still buy a deadly assault weapon, but it is illegal for that same 18-year-old to buy an alcoholic beverage; there is something extremely inconsistent and illogical about that fact.
The simple fact is that Congress is afraid of the NRA, afraid to do what is necessary to prevent future carnage resulting from the use of assault weapons on innocent people and children in our schools, our movie theaters, or anywhere else. Continue to allow law abiding citizens to have firearms and shotguns, but no assault weapons. We all need to stand up to the National Rifle Association and say
enough is enough, no citizen should own a military-style assault weapon.