The bullet traveled through her window, cut through the sheers, pierced into her china cabinet, and then lodged itself in the living room wall.

The shot did not just shatter her window, state Sen. Rhonda Fields said.

“My faith in my security, of being, feeling safe at home, has been shattered,” she said.

The Aurora Democrat spoke at the Aurora City Council meeting on Monday, when she urged city lawmakers to do what they can at the local level to address gun violence. The issue has been on her mind for some time, she said, because she frequently receives notices of gunfire in the city.

None of those incidents – although they affect the city Fields said she loves – occurred close to her house.

Not until Friday, when police removed the bullet in her house's wall, which they suspect came from a drive-by shooting, Fields said. The senator is not sure when exactly her house was shot because she was out of town when the incident occurred, she said, but felt a psychological impact after considering the speed and power it would take for the bullet to travel so far into her house. 

“I can no longer say that it’s not happening near my home,” she said.

The senator said she called the city’s chief of police, who she credited as being “very, very responsive.” Officers came to take a report and remove the bullet from her wall. She is grateful no one was hurt, but her family is shaken. She said she is lucky they were not at home watching TV in the living room when the shooting occurred.

Fields said she is far from alone in her fear. Gun violence has left many city residents frightened, she said, adding, “We’re looking for leadership.” She worries people are growing too accustomed to hearing gunfire around Aurora.

As she pleaded for action from the city council, Fields advocated for law enforcement to have the resources they need, and for teachers to be given adequate resources to deal with the trauma students bear from exposure to gun violence.

“I don’t know what the answers are. I just know that we need to take the blinders off if they are on,” she said.

Mayor Mike Coffman called Fields’ experience “an upsetting incident.”

“She’s certainly experienced tragic incidents involving gun violence in her own life before this,” Coffman said.

Fields’ son and her son’s fiancé were shot and killed in 2005 in Aurora. Her son was targeted because he was preparing to testify against two men accused in a previous murder, prosecutors said.

The issue of gun violence is “significant all over the Denver metropolitan area,” Coffman said. He also said municipalities are limited in what they can do to curb gun violence. The mayor commended Fields as a legislator helping to address the problem. He wishes her colleagues in the legislature would do more, he said. 

Coffman is frustrated by a state legislature that he said has spent several years creating an environment that is too lenient on people who perpetrate violence. Lowering the penalty for certain crimes from a felony to misdemeanor allowed more people to legally own firearms who should not, the mayor said.

Coffman also wants all car thefts to become a felony, regardless of the vehicle’s monetary value. Stolen cars are often used in the commission of more violent crimes, he said. The mayor opposes allowing someone convicted of felony car theft to possess a weapon.

Ghost guns should be prohibited, as well, said Coffman, who added he wants to see the number of juvenile detention beds increased to prevent youth accused of violent crimes from being released on ankle monitors.

Multiple councilmembers in Aurora have called for an increase in juvenile beds, and Councilmember Dustin Zvonek sponsored a hotly-debated resolution earlier this year calling on the state to eliminate a cap that limits the number of juvenile beds in Colorado. Zvonek has described the cap as an arbitrary number that cripples judges’ ability to keep youth accused of violent crime detained. During the resolution’s debate, progressive councilmembers also called for better reentry programs.

Those were also a few of several issues raised in a letter Coffman recently co-signed with Mayor of Denver Michael Hancock and Mayor of Colorado Springs John Suthers. 

As for the city’s response, Coffman said having a fully staffed police department would help Aurora address gun violence. The city budget allows for 748 officers, and to his most recent knowledge, the Aurora Police Department had 680 officers on duty and 25 in training.

“We will do everything we can at the local level, but we need partners as the state level,” Coffman said.

Fields later told The Denver Gazette she hopes to see communities address gun violence in-part by tackling the root causes of crime. 

Communities need to focus on what drives people to "do desperate things," she said, such as steal a car or commit burglary. Cities can do that by helping people access transportation, jobs and good wages, she said.

Fields wants law enforcement to seriously monitor gunfire in communities, take note of areas where it is more prevalent, and give the issue concentrated attention before innocent bystanders are hurt. She urged residents to report gunfire to law enforcement.

"This is no joke. It shouldn't be dismissed," she said. 

She also wants communities to look into the proliferation of firearms. 

"The first thing we have to do is kind of limit the access to guns," she said. 

handful of bills that supporters say will curb gun violence emerged this session from Colorado Democrats, although not without pushback.

On Monday, the Colorado Senate approved a proposal to raise the minimum age to buy a gun to 21, with some exceptions. Proponents of Senate Bill 169 say it will keep more guns out of the hands of youth, who carry out a disproportionate number of gun-related crimes. Critics of the bill say it could endanger young victims of domestic violence and make it hard for them to obtain a weapon for self-defense.

“Gun deaths in Colorado climb higher every year, and a disproportionate number of them are committed by younger Coloradans,” said Sen. Kyle Mullica, D-Thornton, one of the bill's sponsors. “As an ER nurse I’ve seen firsthand the devastating ways gun violence impacts our communities, which is why I am proud to champion this bill that will reduce gun violence and save lives all across our state.”

Senate Bill 170 seeks to expand the list of people who can seek an extreme risk protection order and also received final Senate approval. A third bill, Senate Bill 168, would allow victims of gun violence to file civil lawsuits against firearm manufacturers and gun dealers. The three pieces of legislation now head to the state House.

Last week, House Bill 1219 passed the House after two days of debate an a 14-hour filibuster from House Republicans. The bill would establish a three-day waiting period after the purchase of a firearm.

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