Despite request from theater shooting victims, debate skips talk on gun violence

Moderator Jim Lehrer selected debate topics

DENVER - Despite a public plea from the families of people killed in the Aurora theater shooting, Wednesday's presidential debate did not discuss gun violence.

The families of eight victims of the Aurora theater shooting sent a letter to the moderator of the presidential debate in Denver this week asking him to question the candidates 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.

Fifty-eight people were injured and 12 were killed in the July 20 attack in Aurora.

At the start of the debate, moderator Jim Lehrer said he had received thousands of topic suggestions but picked the questions himself.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence also said the presidential candidates missed an opportunity to address guns in their debate at the University of Denver.

"I made the final selections and, for the record, they were not submitted for the approval of either the commission or the candidates," Lehrer said.

Tom Teves' son, Alex, graduated from the University of Denver, where the debate was held, and was killed in the shootings. After the debate, Teves said that he doubts the topic will come up in any debates, insisting that no one has the courage to speak about it.

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