UVA Hosts Forum on Gun Control Policies
Pointing to the gun violence in Virginia and around the nation, there's a new call for gun control coming from the Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy. After six months of work, the group released its recommendations in a report Monday at the University of Virginia in front of a crowd that included lawmakers, gun owners, and family members of the victims of the Virginia Tech shootings.
Lori Haas, Virginia state director for Stop Gun Violence, knows the pain in the names that flash across the news after gun-related violence occurs; her daughter survived two bullet wounds in the April 2007 shooting spree that killed 32 of her classmates and professors at Virginia Tech.
Haas stood among researchers and lawmakers Monday.
“Tucson, Aurora, Oak Creek, Sandy Hook, and the day-to-day gun violence and their victims and their families - that pain is indescribable,” she said.
That's why she's part of a panel pushing states to rewrite gun control laws. The consortium says states should toughen laws to prohibit people from getting guns if they've been involuntarily hospitalized or recently convicted of violent crimes, including domestic violence and repeated drunk driving.
“Those persons are likely to be dangerous. We need to make sure until their risk abates that they can't get firearms,” said Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence.
The report also proposes a way for police or family members to take guns away from people at risk for violence.
“We need to empower families, clinicians, and police officers in particular to try to take firearms out of the hands of people under those circumstances,” said Richard Bonnie, professor at UVA’s School of Law.
Haas hopes Virginia lawmakers lead the way in turning the report's proposals into policy.
“If we'd had better laws, the shooter at Virginia Tech wouldn't have had a firearm. Their loved ones would be alive today,” Haas said.
The report is now for state lawmakers nationwide to consider. The consortium will release recommendations to change federal gun control laws later this month in Washington, D.C.