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Aurora shooting victim: C'mon, presidential candidates — deal with gun violence!
Leading up to the presidential debate, a survivor of the Aurora massacre urges Obama and Romney to grapple with gun violence — an issue they've avoided like the plague
 
Stephen Barton was struck 25 times by shotgun pellets during the Aurora shooting and bears the scars on his cheek and neck. Unlike many others, he survived.
Stephen Barton was struck 25 times by shotgun pellets during the Aurora shooting and bears the scars on his cheek and neck. Unlike many others, he survived.
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The video: Stephen Barton counts himself among the lucky ones. On July 20, the 22-year-old attended the fateful midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colo., where 12 people were killed in a horrific mass shooting. Barton was struck by 25 shotgun pellets in the face and neck, but managed to survive. And now, in an ad sponsored by Mayors Against Illegal Guns and released days before the first presidential debate, he's calling on President Obama and Mitt Romney to outline their plans for gun control. "In the next four years, 48,000 Americans won't be so lucky [as I was], because they'll be murdered with guns in the next president's term," Barton says in the advertisement (watch it below). "So when you watch the presidential debates, ask yourself, 'Who has a plan to stop gun violence?'"

The response: "Both Romney and Obama have backed away from offering any new solutions to deal with the nation's gun homicide rate, which far outpaces any other developed country in the world," says Aviva Shen at ThinkProgress. Under the political influence of the NRA and given waning popular support for new gun-control measures, neither candidate has backed tougher gun laws despite a spate of recent mass shootings. However, "both candidates have backed gun control measures in the past," says Erica Goode at The New York Times. Obama supported gun control as a senator, while Romney "raised the fee for gun licenses and signed a ban on assault weapons" as governor of Massachusetts. Barton himself is not particularly hopeful that his ad will change anything, telling The New York Times: “We have this giant shooting and it’s really sad that we can’t even have a discussion about it,” he said. “Really, more than anything, we just want to candidates to start talking about it in a way that’s beyond just condolences.”

 

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