PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Families who have lost loves ones to gun violence joined together with a national campaign calling for congressional action as it rolled through Pittsburgh today.
The traveling billboard with the “Fix Gun Checks” campaign is on a 10,000 mile journey to reduce gun violence in America.
Supporters say Congress could do more to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals, drug users and the mentally ill by fixing the gun check system.
“Our country is failing us and gun violence victims and their families,” said Mary Beth Hacke, who lost her 14-month-old son to gun violence.
“Four months ago this weekend, my son, Jeron Xavier Grayson, was gunned down by a young man who shouldn’t have had access to a gun at all,” said Rev. Glenn Grayson, who lost his college age son to gun violence.
Families who have lost loved ones along with other concerned citizens say flaws in the national background check system are allowing guns to get into the wrong hands.
They call the shooting in Tucson, Ariz., a prime example.
They say the suspect, Jared Loughner, should have been in the national background check, which would have blocked his purchase of a weapon
Six people were killed in that shooting last month, and 13 others were wounded including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
“I would like to live in a country in which we never see another Virginia Tech, we never see another Columbine and never another Tucson,” said Dan Delissio, a concerned citizen.
Omar Samatha’s sister, Reema, was killed during the shooting spree on the Virginia Tech campus in 2008.
“The gunman was not reported to the background check system when he should of, and he passed two different background checks and was able to get his hands on two guns,” said Samatha.
According to the “Fix Gun Checks” campaign, 34 people die every day from gun violence. On Friday, the number was 1,390. Today, it’s 1,427.
One of the problems, supporters of the campaign say is that millions of records of people banned from buying guns – including those with mental illness – are not included in the national instant background check system.
Supporters of the changes submitted 9,000 signatures on petitions today to a representative of Congressman Mike Doyle. He supports legislation to change the law.