Denver students, teachers protest at Capitol in wake of gun violence

By: - March 24, 2023 5:02 pm

Students from East High School in Denver protest against gun violence outside the governor’s office in the wake of recent shootings at their school, at the Colorado Capitol in Denver, March 24, 2023. (Kevin Mohatt for Colorado Newsline)

For the second day in a row, hundreds of Denver-area students demonstrated at the state Capitol, demanding the passage of legislation aimed at preventing gun violence.

They were joined by teachers and educators on Friday as Denver Public Schools granted a mental health day following a shooting on Wednesday at East High School, when a student shot two administrators and later took his own life.

It was the second act of gun violence for the East school community recently. Luis Garcia, a 16-year-old student, died earlier this month after he was shot near the school.


The students and faculty gathered at the Capitol for a morning rally, where they were joined by some lawmakers, and then made their way into the building. By noon, a crowd began a sit-in by Democratic Gov. Jared Polis’ office. His chief of staff, former lawmaker Alec Garnett, eventually took a meeting with some demonstrators.

The House of Representatives is considering three gun bills on second reading on Friday — and potentially into Saturday under a Republican filibuster. Democrats hold a large majority in the chamber.

Senate Bill 23-168 would repeal the state’s protections for gun manufacturers from most lawsuits brought by victims of gun violence.

Senate Bill 23-169 would increase the minimum age to buy firearms to 21.

Senate Bill 23-170 would expand the categories of people who can petition for an extreme risk protection order, also known as a red flag, against potentially dangerous people.

Those three bills have made it through the Senate.

Another gun-related bill to enact a three day waiting period for gun purchases cleared the House and is set for a second reading in the Senate.


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Sara Wilson
Sara Wilson

Sara Wilson covers state government, Colorado's congressional delegation, energy and other stories for Newsline. She formerly was a reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain, where she covered politics and government in southern Colorado.