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Colorado District Attorney Brian Mason Fights For Gun Violence Prevention 13 Years After Fellow Prosecutor And Friend Shot And Killed

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)- A Colorado district attorney is the only elected DA in the country to sign a Father's Day letter urging more gun safety laws. Seventeenth Judicial District Attorney Brian Mason says his job isn't just about prosecuting crime. It's about preventing it, and gun violence prevention, he says, is one way of doing that.

Sean May
Sean May (credit: CBS)

But it's more than a professional responsibility for him. It's personal, too. In August of 2008, his friend and fellow prosecutor Sean May was shot and killed outside his Denver home.

"As many of my colleagues did, I went straight to the hospital. We waited and prayed for Sean to be OK."

May would die from his injuries. It was the second time Mason had lost someone close to him in a shooting. His best friend's mom also gunned down.

"Gun violence is really personal to me."

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(credit: CBS)

As a district attorney, it is also something he sees on a regular basis, "Staring into a mother's eyes or a father's eyes after they lost a child that had been shot... is excruciating."

He says that is why he has made preventing gun violence a priority.

Last weekend, he was the only elected district attorney in the country to sign a Father's Day letter by a dad, whose daughter was killed in the Parkland school shooting. The letter begged Congress to pass measures like universal background checks.

He has also supported gun control legislation in the state legislature. One of his chief deputies wrote a bill - now law - that ensures domestic violence offenders relinquish their firearms.

"We have 40,000 deaths due to gun violence every year. It's a staggeringly high number. That would be as if the population of the City of Brighton was wiped out every year."

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(credit: CBS)

It's been 13 years since Sean May's murder. Sitting in a room named after his friend, Mason thought about all those lost to gun violence since, and those yet to come. May's killer was never caught. The gun never recovered.

"I hope someday we're going to solve Sean's case. I really do."

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