Anti-Violence Groups Hold March As NRA Convention Continues

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — As the NRA Convention continues in downtown Pittsburgh, gun control advocates and protesters who want more restrictions on gun sales led an anti-violence march on Saturday.

Lori Haas’ daughter was one of 17 wounded by a gunman who killed 32 others during the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007. She says she wants the NRA to help stop high-risk gun buyers from getting weapons.

“He was a prohibited buyer, and his records… where he had been adjudicated mentally ill, had not been submitted to the national instant check system,” said Haas.

On Jan. 8, a shooting in Tucson, Ariz., claimed six lives and wounded 13 others including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. The suspect in that shooting was also a prohibited buyer.

“I was able, when he got the magazine out of his left pockets with his left hand, I was able to get that magazine before he could reload, then I knelt on his ankles,” said Pat Maisch, who wants tougher gun laws.

About 200 people from local and national anti-violence groups marched from Freedom Corner to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

They arrived to mostly indifferent stares from convention-goers. One man had an idea that he says may have stopped the Virginia Tech shooting.

”Had students been allowed to carry, there would have been someone in that campus classroom with a gun that would have taken that guy out,” said Daniel Vayda, an NRA member.

The marchers are asking NRA President Wayne LaPierre for help to change loopholes in the law that allow private dealers to avoid background checks, and to force states like Pennsylvania to provide mental health records to a national database.

Meanwhile, the NRA claims it’s doing its part.

“We’ve been on record for 30 years supporting those adjudicated by our courts to be mental defective and felons to be entered into that national instant check system and barred from gun ownership,” said Rachel Parsons, an NRA spokesperson.

National Rifle Association
Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network

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  • tax payer

    guns dont kill people people kill people
    if you take away guns people will use bats to kill people or knives
    so do we ban baseball bats and silverware ?

  • Scott

    Go protest on the corners and streets where crack and heroin is being sold.
    That would be a good start. How many NRA members commit crimes?

  • Thomas J Duttine

    The people who are marching to the NRA should be home policing their own neighborhoods, the people that are committing the crimes aren’t at the convention….They are in their own houses and apartments!

  • Zebra muscle

    @tax payer. Guns make it far easier to kill people than bats or knives. Moreover, people get killed or seriously injured by bullets not intended for them in crossfires. that will not happen with bats or knives.

    @scott: On what basis do you assume that residents of communities do not deal with drug problems in their neighborhoods. Do you regularly talk to residents of such neighborhoods? My work occasionally brings me to neighborhoods facing drug problems and I’ve learned that their residents are very concerned about heroine, crack and other drugs ruining their neighborhoods.

    @Thomas: I was one of the marchers. No the people committing those crimes are not in my home or apartment. However, the people ensuring minimal barriers to legal and illegal firearm possession were at the convention.

    • kristy

      all good points, zebra, but logic’s lost on the nra.

  • Paul

    All them guns guns at the show and no one getting shot or mugged how can that be

  • G2

    Well Paul it’s like this and I’m just guessing NRA members don’t shot people, rob banks or deal drugs.

  • Scott

    @ Zebra. It’s nice you occassionally get to the neighborhoods facing these problems. So you don’t live in any of these neighborhoods like I do. I see it all the time. Not on occasion to gab about problems once in a while. If the residents are so concerned, help the police to make the streets safer.

  • Dan

    I’m going to protest free speech next…There is a reason people have the right to bear arms, just like people have a right to free speech…..Zebra you forget people have free will to ruin anything. That doesnt make guns bad, or speech bad just the idiots who ruin in…..your missing the problem !

  • Mommy

    @Zebra – liberals like you who exploit a tragedy to promote your agenda make me sick. What happened at Virginia Tech & Tuscon were related more to problems with the mental health system than a lack if gun control. In both cases, people knew the shooters were not normal, yet they were passed thru the system & ignored instead of targeted for intervention.

    I’m a gun owner/carrier. I live alone. I’m not a violent person, but you can bet your silly liberal butt that if someone unlawfully enters my home, I will defend myself, my child, and my property. It’s a shame that that makes me a criminal in your book. But them again, I guess it’s just easier for people like you to blame people like me instead of addressing the real root of criminal activity.

  • John Wayne

    NRA members use guns to shoot targets, elk moose and deer. They keep guns locked up and don’t sell them to black kids to use in drug deals.Those protestors were safer at the convention than they were in Homewood

  • Shequina

    If guns are removed from the streets, who will make those spray painted tee-shirts and candles for the vigils?

  • -danz-

    “gun control advocates and protesters who want more restrictions on gun sales led an anti-violence march” No they didn’t. They had an anti-gun march. Violence actually INCREASES with stricter gun controls, a fact illustrated in many countries and by many studies.

    In the US, according to DOJ, less than 10% of violent crimes are even “firearm related.” So these people are not protesting violence when they are ignoring 90% of it.

  • Big Al

    Where is it more likely to have a shooting. The NRA Convention or a Rap concert?
    Maybe guns aren’t the problem

  • Mayor of GBD

    okay zebra, so then the car manufacturers are responsible for drunk drivers?…who kill 10 times the amount of people each year than guns do… regular accidents claim thousands more.

    Nice try zebra? is that the box you check on applications? zebra?

  • Doug Graham

    A silly protest!
    The NRA advocates firearms safety nation wide and has since 1871.
    The protestors are blaming inanimate objects for crimes committed by mentally unstable individuals. The laws are already on the books to prohibit those with mental health issues from buying guns, and the NRA supports them> Grandstanding by MAIG is the real issue here.


    Let the protesters protest it’s their right, just like by law I’m allowed to own my guns and by permit I am allowed to carry a firearm.
    Ignorance is thinking by taking away guns from law abiding Americans is going to stop violence while the bad guys still have theirs.
    I will do whatever it takes to protect myself and family, GOD BLESS AMERICA FOR THAT COWARD BIN LADDEN IS DEAD!!!!!! YAAAAAAYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!

  • stormie

    Shequina you speak the truth, your comment is real but no one really wants peace because there is too much money and show time in death.

  • Seeking balance

    I did not attend the convention, wanted to, but didn’t want to deal with the protestors. Taking away the legal right to own a gun WILL NOT stop gun violence or death. Those that have them illegally will not be turning their guns in! I’m all for stricter/more thorough background checks, but I don’t want to see us lose our right to bear arms. I live in a high crime neighborhood, police are are regularly there. These same officers have (on more than one occasion) asked if I owned a gun, and asked if I had thought about it – honestly, I had not put that much thought into it, but after their comments/observations (i.e. we know what’s going on up here, but people won’t come forward), I am seriously contemplating it. Of course, I’ll take a course (or two) prior to making that purchase, but I have no criteria that would make my purchasing one a problem either.

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