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VA Tech Families, Gun Violence Prevention Advocates Laud President Obama’s Public Safety Proposals



VA Tech Families, Gun Violence Prevention Advocates Laud President Obama's Public Safety Proposals

Families ask Virginia legislators to support President's sensible proposals to stop the violence 

Richmond, VA – Family members of Virginia Tech shooting shooting victims and gun violence prevention advocates today came out in support of proposals from President Obama's gun violence prevention task force, including measures to implement comprehensive background checks on all firearms purchases, ban military-style assault weapons, and limit high-capacity ammunition magazines. 

Lori Haas, whose daughter, Emily, was shot in the head during the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, strongly endorsed the President's proposals. “No parent should live in fear that their child may be the next victim of gun violence. How many more times do we have to go through this until our leaders act? Comprehensive background checks for all firearms purchases is a common sense proposal that will help keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and other dangerous people. I urge our federal legislators to support this sensible measure to keep our families safe.”

Of the more than 6.6 million guns sold every year, 40 percent of those sales are conducted without a background check. [New England Journal of Medicine] Eighty two percent of all gun owners—including 74 percent of NRA members—support requiring a criminal background check for all gun purchases. [Center for American Progress] According to a recent Quinnipiac survey conducted in early January, 92% of Virginians support background checks. [Washington Post]

Andrew Goddard's son, Colin, was also shot at Virginia Tech. Seung-Hui Cho used fifteen high capacity magazines in the course of his rampage that killed 32 people and wounded 17. Andrew Goddard, President of the Virginia Center for Public Safety, endorsed proposals to limit high capacity magazines and ban military-style assault weapons. “Support for the Second Amendment goes hand in hand with keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and other dangerous people. Military-style semi-automatic assault weapons and high capacity magazines have very limited use for civilians that is far outweighed by their ability to kill as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. It's time for the gun lobby to get out of the way of common sense gun laws, laws that gun owners support, and help make sure our families are safe.”

Assault weapons and/or high-capacity magazines were used in at least one-third of high-profile shootings in the last four years, including, Sandy Hook, Aurora, and Tucson. A recent Quinnipiac survey found strong majorities of Virginians support a national ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. [Washington Post] In fact, research shows that banning high-capacity magazines decreases the number of high-capacity magazines recovered at crime scenes. A study by The Washington Post found that during the 10-year federal ban of assault weapons the number of guns police recovered with high-capacity magazines dropped to a low of 9 percent when the ban expired in 2004. That number jumped to 20 percent just six years later. [Washington Post]

Thirty three Americans are murdered by guns every single day. The time to act is now. Over one million Americans have taken action to Demand A Plan to end gun violence. President Obama has responded with common sense proposals to prevent future tragedies. Virginia's federal representatives should support these measures that will keep our families safe.


The Virginia Center for Public Safety is a non-profit, non-partisan grass roots organization dedicated to the reduction of gun violence in Virginia.  

Virginians for Responsible Gun Laws (VRGL) advocates for laws to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals. 



    Washington, DC-During a press conference today at the White House, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden announced a broad-ranging package of gun policy recommendations that, if implemented, would save countless American lives in the years ahead.

    “I was honored to attend today’s event at the White House,” said Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) executive director Josh Horwitz. “The President’s announcement was unbelievably meaningful to Americans who have advocated against reckless gun laws; and particularly to those who have personally suffered because of them, including members of our own staff. The policy formation process directed by Vice President Joe Biden was rigorous and professional from the get-go and something we can all take great pride in.”

    The report presented by the President urges the U.S. Congress to pass legislation to require universal background checks on all gun sales, renew the ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, and eliminate restrictions on federal research into gun violence, among other recommendations. It also includes 23 important executive actions to reduce gun violence that the Obama administration will implement immediately.

    “These are reforms that should have been law in this country decades ago,” said CSGV Legislative Assistant Christian Heyne, who lost his mother in a gun-related homicide. “In the wake of the gruesome mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, we now have the opportunity to make sure future generations of Americans will not have to endure similar horrors.”

    Along with partners in the gun violence prevention movement, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence will now mobilize grassroots activists across the country to support the White House’s recommendations.

    “The response to Newtown is like nothing we have ever seen,” said Heyne. “We have been stretched beyond capacity by the flood of phone calls, emails, and social media messages we are receiving daily. Americans are asking what they can do to make a difference. We now know exactly what to tell them. ‘Contact your Members of Congress-not once, but repeatedly-and tell them you want to see the White House’s recommendations acted on immediately.’ As the President said today, ‘This time must be different.'”

    “We were critical of this President for nothing doing enough in his first term to address America’s epidemic of gun violence,” said Horwitz. “Today, those concerns were laid to rest.”

  • “Today the President put forward a comprehensive approach to reduce gun violence that will make this nation more safe and secure, particularly for our children. I applaud his decisive and quick leadership on this issue and strongly support every provision of his plan.

    “I am proud we have a leader who has the courage to stand up to an organization whose principal tactics have been intimidation and political coercion. This bullying by the NRA can no longer be tolerated.

    “While his executive actions will make a difference in enforcement of our gun laws today, Congress must do the right thing and take up his legislative recommendations. These proposals will help prevent guns from getting in the hands of people who should not have them – criminals and the seriously mentally ill – and remove weapons of mass violence from our neighborhoods. These recommendations are wholly consistent with the views of the vast majority of the American people – including NRA members.

    “Each day, 33 Americans are murdered by firearms. It is time for Members of Congress to search our consciences and put the lives of our constituents ahead of political considerations.”