The Lookout

Aurora victims appeal for dialogue on gun violence in presidential debate

Surviving victims of the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting are speaking out about gun violence in the hopes that Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will do the same.

Relatives of eight of the 12 people who died this past July during a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" have sent a letter to Wednesday night's debate moderator, Jim Lehrer. The debate will be held in Denver.

The letter reads in part: "To ignore the problem of gun violence where two of the worst shootings in U.S. history took placeAurora and Columbinewould not only be noticeable by its absence but would slight the memories of our loved ones killed. ... We encourage a national debate on this issue. You, Mr. Lehrer, can help all Americans by advancing the discussion. This is the time. This is the place."

Former graduate student James Holmes stands accused of the massacre.

A representative for Lehrer has said that the moderator did receive the letter. The group has also created a petition that people can sign at demandaplan.org.

United Against Illegal Guns Support Fund released a 30-second video with a similar message. Stephen Barton, who survived multiple gunshot wounds, asks voters to keep gun violence in mind while watching the debates. Barton says that 48,000 people will be murdered during the next four-year presidential term. "When you watch the presidential debates, ask yourself, 'Who has a plan to stop gun violence?'"

The first of three presidential debates airs on Wednesday evening, Oct. 3.

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