DENVER (AP) — A man wounded in the mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater is appearing in a nationwide television spot aimed at drawing attention to gun violence as part of the upcoming presidential debates.
Stephen Barton, 22, of Southbury, Conn., was among the 58 people injured in the July 20 attack in Aurora that also left 12 people dead.
Barton was bicycling across the country and staying with a friend the night of the shooting. He now does victim outreach and policy research for Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which helped produce the ad that began airing Monday.
In the 30-second TV spot, Barton urges people to ask themselves during the debates which candidate has a plan to stop gun violence.
Filmed inside an empty movie theater, Barton talks about his experience during the shooting as photos are shown of jagged gunshot wounds to his face and neck.
"I was lucky. In the next four years, 48,000 Americans won't be so lucky, because they'll be murdered with guns in the next president's term, enough to fill over 200 theaters," Barton says in the ad.
Meanwhile, the families of eight people killed in the theater shooting joined the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence to urge the moderator of Wednesday's debate to ask President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney about gun violence.
"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 letter said.
Jim Lehrer of PBS is moderating the event at the University of Denver.
Obama and Romney have been largely quiet about guns during the campaign, except when prodded about high-profile cases.
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