DENVER — Guns are the number one killer of children in this country – and a group of Denver moms is banding together to change that by asking the governor to make a bold move and ban guns in Colorado.
The group is set on accomplishing something unprecedented. Here 4 The Kids said their movement isn’t a push for gun reform – it’s a push for a changed America.
The moms recently gathered with their kids in a Park Hill home to make signs to protest gun violence. One of the kids making a sign asked, "How do you spell dying?"
On June 5, Here 4 the Kids hopes a group of 25,000 will come together for a sit-in at the state Capitol. They plan to demand the governor sign their drafted executive order.
“The executive order is asking Governor [Jared] Polis to ban all guns and implement a buyback program," said Alyce Blum.
The group's vision is grand, even daunting. How does a group of mothers think they can get the governor to take executive action on guns? Do they actually think it could work – banning guns in the Centennial State?
“Yeah, we get that a lot," said Blum, as she laughed at the question. "I hear that it sounds out there. It sounds out there to me still, but I’m deep in the work, which helps, and I really believe with every fiber in my being that this is something that we can do.”
The Here 4 the Kids movement doesn’t have the backing of any big organization or corporation. It started like so many things post-pandemic – with a simple Zoom call.
“That was not long after the second East [High School] shooting happened, and we were just kind of over it," Jessie Sushinsky said.
Sushinsky, who lives in Denver, was on that virtual phone call.
"And it started there, and we did this, and since then we’ve been building something from nothing,” Blum said. “I don’t know any of these people. I just met all of these people today. I met Jessie quite literally four days ago.”
The grassroots movement continues to grow, attracting moms like Wolf Terry of Lakewood, who said she's depleted her endless bank of thoughts and prayers.
“We all have dreams for our kids," Terry said. "Right now, my kid’s about to go into kindergarten in the fall. He’s autistic, and my only immediate dream for him is to be able to come home from school every single day alive.”
These moms believe lawmakers prioritize protecting the Second Amendment over protecting human life - and are going to a lawmaker they hope will listen.
“Our president told us he’s done everything he could. He’s passing the mic to Congress. Our Congress is deserting us, so now it’s time for us to take it into our own hands,” Sushinsky said. “We know what we’re up against. We know the lay of the land. We know it’s going to be hard. We’re not disputing you on that, but we’re willing to put in the work because we don’t have a choice at this point - what choice do we have? To roll over and say this is fine to live this way? And I’m just done with that. I think everybody else is, too.”
Blum said right now, she actually owns guns. She said the planned sit-in and gargantuan ask of Colorado's governor has changed her viewpoint.
“I’m willing to change my life, and my husband is too, and to say whether or not Polis signs this, we can get rid of our guns," Blum said. "Not because we are the 'bad people' but because do we need them?”
The movement is also capturing the attention of celebrities who have spoken out on gun reform – and are now showing their support for the H4TK campaign – including comedian Chelsea Handler and actress Lake Bell.
Executive orders do not require any action by Congress or a state legislature to take effect, and the legislature cannot overturn them.
"I’ve never seen something like this in my life. I know all the people I’m working with have never seen anything like this," Sushinsky said. "This is history. I don’t know what’s gonna happen exactly or how it’s gonna happen, but something's going to happen.”
Other countries have banned guns after violence. New Zealand passed the Arms Act 1983 statute, which includes multiple amendments, including those passed after the 1990 Aramoana massacre and 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings. Gun ownership was criminalized and resulted in the government buying back 56,000 guns in a matter of months.
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