- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 23, 2014

AURORA, Colo. (AP) - The parents of two people killed in the Aurora theater shooting Wednesday criticized Republican Rep. Mike Coffman for not supporting a federal law to mandate background checks for all people who buy guns.

Standing outside Coffman’s district office in Aurora, Tom Sullivan, whose son Alex was killed in the July 20, 2012, attack, urged a vote for Coffman’s challenger in the election, Democrat Andrew Romanoff, who supports universal background checks.

“Alex’s votes will no longer be counted. But I believe we can vote for Alex and others who have been killed by senseless gun violence,” Sullivan said.

Also speaking at the event were Sandy and Lonnie Phillips, whose daughter Jessica Ghawi was also killed in the shooting.

After 20 children and six adults were killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December of 2012, a majority of U.S. Senators supported a bill to require background checks on all commercial sales of guns, but the bill died because supporters could not break a filibuster. It is considered unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Coffman is considered one of the most vulnerable congressional incumbents in the nation after being moved into a district that is evenly divided between Democrats, Republicans and independent voters. That district also includes the Century 16 movie theater where the theater shooting occurred. That attack killed 12 and injured 70.

“The protesters are free to speak their mind,” Coffman spokesman Clay Sutton said. “Mike respects their right to express their views, but doesn’t think more Washington, DC-dictated gun control will stop evil people from doing evil things.”

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