A survivor of the July mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado is appearing in a new TV ad asking the presidential candidates to explain how they will reduce gun violence when they meet to debate on Wednesday less than ten miles from the Cinemark theater where a dozen people were killed and 58 wounded.
The ad features Stephen Barton, a recent Syracuse University graduate and Fulbright Scholarship recipient who was shot while spending the night in Aurora on a bicycle trip across America. The ad will air nationally during the week that President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney meet at the University of Denver for their first face-to-face debate.
"I never thought I'd be a shooting victim until I was bleeding on a floor in Aurora," said Barton. "I was lucky, but I've seen what happens when dangerous people get their hands on guns. And I think it's fair to ask the men who want to lead the country to get past the platitudes and give us a serious plan to address a serious problem."
Barton's ad is part of the "Demand A Plan" campaign led by shooting survivors and Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a bipartisan coalition of more than 725 mayors who advocate closing loopholes in laws designed to prevent felons, domestic violence offenders, the seriously mentally ill and other dangerous people from obtaining firearms.
In the ad, Barton sits in an empty movie theatre and urges debate viewers to demand a concrete plan to combat the gun violence that will claim 48,000 American lives during the next presidential term unless Washington acts.