Stephen Barton knows he's lucky to be alive—and now the 22-year-old survivor of the Aurora, Colo., theater massacre is doing what he can to prevent such a thing from happening again.
"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," says Barton, who was shot in the face and neck when a gunman opened fire on a packed screening of The Dark Knight Rises, in a new pro-gun control public service announcement for the Demand a Plan campaign.
The number of prospective victims is "enough to fill over 200 theaters," Barton notes.
The PSA, paid for by United Against Illegal Guns Support Fund, seeks to encourage voters to use the upcoming series of presidential debates to question candidates Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama about what they intend to do to curb gun violence in the near future.
The July 20 shooting at the Cinefamily-owned Century 16 multiplex in Aurora left 12 people dead and 58 wounded. Suspect James Holmes has been charged with 24 counts of first-degree murder (special circumstances account for the doubling) and 116 counts of attempted murder.
Barton, who's from Connecticut, was on a cross-country bicycle trip and was just staying the night with a friend in Aurora at the time of the shooting. He now does victim outreach and policy work for Mayors Against Illegal Guns.