For Immediate Release


Peter Hamm,
Communications Director
Doug Pennington,
Assistant Director: 202-898-0792.

Letter from the Aurora Families to Presidential Debate Moderator Jim Lehrer

WASHINGTON - Dear Mr. Lehrer:

On Sept. 19, you, as the moderator of the nation’s first presidential debate, announced that the questions you would ask President Obama and Governor Romney will focus solely on the economy, healthcare, the role of government and governing.

We, members of the families who lost loved ones in the Aurora Theater shooting on July 20th, believe that the problem of gun violence in America must be addressed.

Therefore, Mr. Lehrer, we are joining with tens of thousands of Americans and the Brady Campaign in urging you to ask the next leader of our country about this vital issue.

To ignore the problem of gun violence in a state where two of the worst shootings in U.S. history took place – Aurora and Columbine – would not only be noticeable by its absence but would slight the memories of our loved ones killed.

The debate takes place at the University of Denver, less than 10 miles from Columbine and only 15 miles from the Aurora Theater where our loved ones were murdered in what was the single worst shooting massacre in American history.

We know that we, as a nation, are better than this. The presidential candidates know it too. We are anxious to hear what solutions they might provide.

Tom and Caren Teves’ son, Alex, graduated from the University of Denver, just a month before being killed in the theater. In a public memorial service, he was honored just last month by the University’s president, Chancellor and staff.

In respectfully urging you, Mr. Lehrer to ask the candidates to present their plans to address gun violence, Alex’s parents are joined by family members of A.J. Boik, Jonathan Blunk, Gordon Cowden, Jessica Ghawi, Matt McQuinn, Micayla Medek and Rebecca Wingo – all murdered inside the Aurora theater.

It’s time that next U.S. President discuss and provide possible solutions to the growing problem of gun violence in America; one that has affected so many communities already this year, including Oak Creek, WI, Minneapolis, MN, Old Bridge, NJ, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to name but a few.

Mass shootings will happen again. It’s not a matter of if, but when. Thirty-two Americans will be murdered today. We just don’t yet know their names or the families or communities they come from. Their lives matter. We, as a nation, are better than this.

How can we continue to ignore the issue of gun violence when so many precious lives have been taken from us? Everyday, our citizens are being killed while just trying to enjoy the simplicities of American life – attending a movie, going to church, grocery shopping or having a night out with friends after a hard day’s work.

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.



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Tom Teves
(Father of Alex Teves)

Caren Teves
(Mother of Alex Teves)

Sandy Phillips
(Mother of Jessica Ghawi)

Lonnie Phillips
(Stepfather of Jessica Ghawi)

Jerri Jackson
(Mother of Matt McQuinn)

Theresa Hoover
(Mother of A.J. Boik)

Dave Hoover
(Uncle of A.J. Boik)

Robert Wingo
(Father of Rebecca Wingo’s two children)

Jessica Watts
(Cousin of Jonathan Blunk)

Melisa Cowden
(Mother of Gordon Cowden’s four children)

Greg Medek
(father of Micayla Medek)

Rena Medek
(Mother of Micayla Medek)

Anita Busch
(Cousin of Greg and Micayla Medek)


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The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and its legislative and grassroots affiliate, the Brady Campaign and its dedicated network of Million Mom March Chapters, is the nation's largest, non-partisan, grassroots organization leading the fight to prevent gun violence.

We are devoted to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in our communities.

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