Churches will ring bells at 9:30 in remembrance of the tragedy that took place at Sandy Hook elementary school just a week ago. Hoping for Newtown to be the final in a string of gun-related violent acts, Peter Read, the father of a Virginia Tech Shooting victim stopped by to discuss the change he finally hopes comes.
Though it’s been five years since a lone gunman carried out the deadliest shooting incident in U.S. history, not much has changed to prevent incidents like this from happening. Peter Read’s daughter, Mary Karen Read was one of the victims. He says it is time for President Obama to take action. “I would like to see what many of us have been asking for a long time and people who lost their loved ones to gun violence before me, the things that the president talked about, the things we heard Mayor Bloomberg talk about. The majority of gun owners and NRA owners support, like improving background checks, dealing with the high capacity magazines. It is important to address mental health issues. I’m a huge supporter of that. And it has to be dealt with,” he says.
President Obama joined the Newtown, Connecticut community last night to comfort the families of the victims. He vowed to, “use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens from law enforcement, to mental health professionals, to parents and educators in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.”
Steven Barton survived the Aurora, CO theatre shooting to see this tragic event in his own hometown. He says, “We have basically heard the same message after Aurora, after Tucson, and those words weren’t followed by any action. I mean, he spoke more forcefully last night, but it remains to be seen if anything will actually come of those words.”
Hit with 25 shotgun pellets in his face, neck, and chest, he now works as the Outreach and policy associate for Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
If he could begin the process today, Barton states he would start with background checks. “Currently 40% of guns sold in this country under federal law aren’t subject to a background check. There’s been a lot of talk about high cap magazines, assault weapons. But if you want to reduce the 34 Americans murdered with guns every single day, background checks are the easiest way to do that and the simplest way to do that,” he says.