An open statement to local, state and federal legislators of Southwest Ohio
Alison Parker and Adam Ward died after being shot in the head and chest while broadcasting live for WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia on August 26.
Authorities say the murderer legally purchased his weapon.
If you won’t enact common sense background checks for the purchase of guns… we will find people who will.
Universal background checks provide the first line of defense—they help keep guns from falling into the wrong hands. Federal law still has a dangerous loophole that allows prohibited people—the dangerously mentally ill, drug abusers, convicted domestic abusers and felons—to easily purchase guns through private or online sales. With the rise of the internet and social media since the Brady Bill was first passed in 1993, the need to close this loophole has become exponentially more urgent.
State reporting improvements also must be made in order for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to issue accurate reports on potential gun buyers. Many states fail to comprehensively report essential information like criminal history, mental health status, domestic violence records, and illicit drug abuse records to the agencies that perform background checks. Increasing NICS funding and stronger incentives and penalties on states to report relevant records to NICS will close this dangerous gap in the background checks system.
Gun Violence Restraining Orders (GVRO) empower families and law enforcement to petition a judge to remove guns from relatives who pose a risk to themselves or others. Shooters often exhibit dangerous warning signs, and GVRO laws help keep guns away from people with the intent to harm. California passed a landmark GVRO last year, in response to the shooting at the University of California, Santa Barbara. How many other mass shootings could have been prevented had the shooters’ families had legal recourse to keep them away from deadly weapons?*
*Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence at smartgunlaws.org