Aurora theater victims' families ask Warner Bros. to stop supporting NRA-backed candidates ahead of 'Joker' release
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Friends and families of the victims of the 2012 movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., urged Warner Bros. to stop funding candidates who take money from the National Rifle Association (NRA) ahead of the studio’s “Joker” release.

The July 2012 shooting killed 12 people during a screening of “The Dark Night Rises.”

The family and friends of the victims said the new R-rated "Joker" film that presents the Batman villain “as a protagonist with a sympathetic origin story” raises some concerns. But rather than call for a boycott of the Oct. 4 release, they wrote a letter to the studio asking it to  support gun reform measures. 

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“We want to be clear that we support your right to free speech and free expression. But as anyone who has ever seen a comic book movie can tell you: with great power comes great responsibility,” they wrote in the letter published by Variety on Tuesday. “That’s why we’re calling on you to use your massive platform and influence to join us in our fight to build safer communities with fewer guns.”

The letter asks the studio to stop supporting candidates who accept money from the NRA, saying “these lawmakers are literally putting your customers and employees in danger.”

It also asks that Warner Bros. use its “political clout and leverage” to lobby for gun reform in Congress and fund survivor funds and gun violence intervention programs. 

“Since the federal government has failed to pass reforms that raise the standard for gun ownership in America, large companies like Warner Brothers have a responsibility to act. We certainly hope that you do,” they wrote. 

A spokesperson for Warner Bros. was not immediately available for comment. 

The letter is signed by Sandie and Lonnie Phillips, Tina Coon, Theresa Hoover, and Heather Dearman, who all lost relatives in the shooting or have relatives who witnessed it. 

Some of the nation's deadliest mass shootings have occurred since the Aurora shooting in 2012, but little gun reform action has been taken on the federal level.

Recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, reinvigorated calls for gun control reform, but the Republican-controlled Senate has yet to vote on a universal background check bill that passed the House in February. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal watchdog accuses VOA parent company of wrongdoing under Trump appointee Lawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list Ivanka Trump gives deposition in lawsuit alleging misuse of inauguration funds MORE has flip-flopped on his support for such a bill, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHillicon Valley: GOP chairman says defense bill leaves out Section 230 repeal | Senate panel advances FCC nominee | Krebs says threats to election officials 'undermining democracy' On The Money: Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms | Pelosi, Schumer endorse 8 billion plan as basis for stimulus talks | Poll: Most Americans support raising taxes on those making at least 0K Nearly one-third of US adults expect to lose employment income: Census Bureau MORE (R-Ky.) said he will only call gun reform bills to a vote that Trump said he’ll support.