Colorado Springs councilman suggests mayoral candidates should discuss an assault weapons ban following Club Q shooting

Club Q Shooting Colorado Springs
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Law enforcement and police tape surround Club Q in Colorado Springs on Nov. 20, 2022 after a mass shooting there overnight.

Colorado Springs City Councilman Bill Murray challenged two other councilors to discuss a city assault weapons ban in the wake of this past weekend's shooting at Club Q that killed five and injured at least 18.

"It might be a good thing for the two mayoral candidates here to actually discuss banning assault weapons in the city," Murray said.

His statement was aimed at Tom Strand and Wayne Williams, who are among seven candidates running for mayor so far this April. 

courtesy Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs at-large councilman Bill Murray.

"I can go for hours about why you shouldn't have an assault weapon," Murray said. "And they can go hours and (tell) me, well it wouldn't have stopped what occurred. But if we don't take baby steps, if we don't take active action to stop what's going on, we're going to repeat it."

Neither Williams nor Strand responded directly to Murray's comments at the time.

The statements came after Colorado Springs City Council listened to emotion-filled public comments Tuesday at its first official meeting since the deadly shooting this past weekend. For nearly 45 minutes, residents and community leaders expressed anger, frustration, gratitude and pleas for action.

Rich Ferraro, who works for GLAAD in New York, was the first to speak. "This city is united in such a beautiful and loving way," he said. GLAAD is a worldwide media advocacy organization for LGBTQ issues. Ferraro flew in to serve as a media liaison.

"This is the appropriate response, right? Unity, community, Colorado Springs strong," he said. "It's so important to continue that in the weeks and years to come. There were heroes there on Saturday night, but everyone … can be heroes in the future by affirming those lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people who live here by letting them know it's ok to be who they are."

His tone was more cordial and grateful than the one struck by state Representative-elect Stephanie Vigil, who identified herself as part of the LGBTQ community. The Democrat's district includes the area where Club Q is located.  

"This recent violence was almost inevitable," Vigil said, pointing the finger at division and hateful rhetoric in the city that she said has been stoked by many locally and nationally.

"We are your neighbors," she said, "your colleagues, family members, and honestly, if you just backed off and allowed us the same right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that every one of us in this country believes is our birthright, maybe even your friends. No one's going back in the closet."

Wednesday, a 25-foot Pride flag will be displayed at Colorado Springs City Hall. According to the city, the flag is one section of a large historic pride flag, a section that " is displayed at celebrations, occasions of mourning, and historic moments," and flew in downtown Orlando after the deadly Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016.