The NRA has announced it will participate in a meeting this week with Vice President Joe Biden's gun violence task force. The Vice President will also hold meetings with victims groups, gun safety organizations and representatives of the entertainment and video game industries. One person who will be attending the meetings is Virginia Tech survivor Colin Goddard. Goddard who was shot four times during the rampage is now the assistant director of federal legislation for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. He joins “Starting Point” this morning to weigh in on the upcoming gun violence meetings.
Goddard says his “job is to represent the voice of the overwhelming majority of Americans… that want some comprehensive, commonsense changes to our gun policy.” He adds that the focus on gun legislation moving forward should not just be on “the last major shooting but…the 32 Americans…who are murdered with guns every single day.”
Morning panelist, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) disagrees. Johnson says he is not sure where Goddard sees evidence regarding the majority of Americans wanting reform to gun policy. Johnson adds the people of Wisconsin who he represents and others “really want to protect gun rights and they realize it’s a second amendment right.”
Goddard says, “There are common ground solutions that respect the second amendment but also make it more difficult for dangerous people to get their hand on a gun in the first place…like a background check.” He says background checks should be conducted on everyone mainly because “40% of gun sales every year in this country go unchecked – that’s just bad policy. That doesn’t stop a law abiding citizen from owning a gun, they’ll pass that background check every time but somebody with a history of mental illness, somebody with a domestic violence restraining order, somebody with a felony record – they need to get checked otherwise you’ll never know about that.”
Goddard who still has three bullets logged in his body agrees the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut was the “tipping point for a lot of people.” He says phones in his Washington office are constantly ringing “off the hook.” He adds, “our activists out in the field across the country are getting so many new members saying ‘I just can’t keep watching these things and not do something about it.’ I think there were multiple factors that played into this but I’ve seen overwhelming support for something to be done.” The 2008 Virginia Tech graduate concludes by saying the meetings on Capitol Hill are very encouraging and urges all Americans to “please keep this up – we’re going to get this done.”