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Virginia Survivors of Gun Violence, Others Urge Congress to Fix Gun Checks

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The following press release from Mayors Against Illegal Guns describes an event which actually took place yesterday, in which several Virginia survivors – and relatives – of gun violence participated. The Virginians are listed, along with their bios, on the “flip.” Thanks to Lori Haas, Omar Samaha, Jeanette Richardson, and everyone else working hard on this issue.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns co-chairs New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and more than 50 survivors of recent mass shootings will urge Congress to reform the national background check system for gun purchases to prevent dangerous people from obtaining firearms in testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism and at a press conference next week.

The hearing will be the first to consider flaws in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System since the January 8th mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona that left six people dead and 13 others wounded, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. The press conference will mark the conclusion of the National Drive to Fix Gun Checks, a nationwide campaign launched after the Tucson shooting and led by Omar Samaha, whose sister was killed in the 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech. The campaign featured a mobile billboard truck that held more than 50 events in 21 cities with mayors, law enforcement leaders and gun violence survivors and gathered the names of more than 350,000 Americans who are calling on Congress to improve the national do-not-sell database.

[…]

The Fix Gun Checks Campaign

After the Tucson mass shooting, Mayors Against Illegal Guns launched the National Drive to Fix Gun Checks, a coast-to-coast billboard truck campaign calling on Congress to fix gaps in the national gun background check system that now allow criminals, domestic violence offenders, the seriously mentally ill and other prohibited purchasers to easily obtain firearms.  Learn more about the campaign at www.fixgunchecks.org.

Virginia

**Lori Haas – Richmond, VA – Lori is the mother of Virginia Tech survivor Emily Haas, who was shot twice in the back of the head. The shooter in Virginia Tech, Seung-Hui Cho, had been found to be a danger to himself by a county court and was thus prohibited under federal law from purchasing a firearm. But because his records of mental illness were not submitted to the background check system, he was able to pass a background check and buy a gun. Since the shooting, Lori has been a tireless advocate on behalf of the Virginia Tech families for the passage of sensible gun policies both in Virginia and at the national level.

**Jeanette Richardson – Newport News, VA – Jeannette’s 18-year old son Patrick McKinley was shot and killed in the front yard of their Newport News home on New Year’s Eve 2003. After Patrick’s death, Jeanette began lobbying for stronger gun control and founded a local chapter of Parents of Murdered Children. She also speaks out in support of closing the gun show loophole.

**Omar Samaha – Arlington, VA – Omar’s sister Reema Samaha of Centreville, VA, was a student killed at Virginia Tech in 2007. Since then, Omar has worked in various ways to bring the issue of gaps in background checks to the forefront of the political debate. This year, Omar joined the Fix Gun Checks campaign and toured the country with the Fix Gun Checks truck.

This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters’ mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism, the fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.