Gun Control Advocates Rally Six Months After Sandy Hook
Gun Control Advocates Rally Six Months After Sandy Hook

NEW YORK—Colin Goddard has never really left behind what happened to him at Virginia Tech. Shot four times during the single deadliest shooting massacre in U.S. history at his alma mater, Goddard has somehow managed to harness his pain for the greater good. Now he works as the Assistant Director of Federal Legislation for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and is a passionate advocate for better gun control legislation.

“I got involved with this because of what is happening to other people,” said Goddard. He joined a large group of gun control advocates at New York’s City Hall on June 14, six months after the Sandy Hook shooting. “Here in New York, representatives need to co-sponsor the Background Check Bill, H.R. 1565.”

He added that Rep. Michael Grimm, Rep. Chris Gibson and other members of congress representing New York have “no excuse” not to back H.R. 1565. Twenty-one of New York State’s congressional representatives co-sponsored the legislation, Grimm and Gibson were among the six that refrained from supporting it. 

H.R. 1565, the King-Thompson Background Check Bill, amends the 2007 National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) Act to make sure all people who shouldn’t be able to buy a firearm are listed in the NICS System, and enhances the current background check process so criminals and the mentally ill cannot buy firearms. It also includes measures to protect Second Amendment rights.

“Learning about our laws in this country alarmed me,” said Goddard, who says that his advocacy is a “way to bring some good” from what happened to him and other victims at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He noted with pride that every injured student went back to Virginia Tech after the shooting and graduated.

These days, the hard part in his advocacy work isn’t getting up and speaking in front of crowds; it’s hearing about other acts of senseless violence.

“It brings me right back to that day—I want to lock myself in a room,” said Goddard on his reaction when he hears about other shootings like Sandy Hook. In the end, he finds the strength to keep working to make things better.

“You get to the point where you try to find a positive place.”

Several members of the New York state legislature were also present, including Sen. Daniel Squadron and Rep. Linda Rosenthal. 

New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman had a generally positive take on the gun control, although he pointed out there have been 5,000 shooting deaths since Sandy Hook.

“I do believe there is more energy, more will, and more smart strategy,” said Schneiderman. “There is a fundamental shift taking place.”

Schneiderman noted that despite legislation already in place in New York state is facing challenges, he believes the “New York model for 100 percent gun background checks” will eventually lead the rest of the nation to action. 

One of these legal measures, the NYSAFE Act, which was made state law in January 2013, is now facing at least six lawsuits. Schneiderman has no plans of backing down.

The act prevents criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from buying a gun. It does so with a requirement for universal background checks when people try to buy guns. It also has tougher penalties for the use of illegal guns. 

Under NYSAFE Act, the murder of a first responder can land the killer in prison for life without parole. It also created the strongest assault weapons ban in the U.S.

“The fight to keep people safe from gun violence is a fundamental right to safety,” Schneiderman said.

  • falconnier

    There is NO “fundamental right to safety”, as safety CANNOT be guaranteed. YOU have the OBLIGATION to ensure YOUR OWN safety. It is irrational to expect others to do it for you.

  • mikesbuffalo

    protect yourself. no one else will.

  • Stanley Hill

    The U.S.A. is in debt 17 trillion and experts expect it to
    take 20 years to get balanced. Our police forces are laying off officers’
    everyday throughout this nation. The latest figures for police for 100,000
    people are 256 officers for 2010. Out of 131 countries with number 1 being the
    most police per 100,000 the U.S.A. ranks number 101 in the list. One of the
    least protected countries. The number of police are getting lower every day and
    many crimes they don’t even respond to because they don’t have the time. Eric
    Holder was asked, why do you not arrest the people that try to buy a gun that
    should not have one? His response was, they didn’t have the time! In ever
    increasing acts of terrorism on homeland soil, we must consider the overall
    safety of our citizens. We have people coming to this country every day from
    all over the world, many with criminal backgrounds, to reap the wealth from the
    American people. With the world’s criminals racing to our country and our
    police forces at an all-time low and getting lower by the day, why is this
    country’s government doing everything possible to disarm the law abiding
    citizens or limit their choice of guns and ammunition for self-defense? It’s
    time to stand up and say NO to socialism and spreading the wealth causing the
    overspending by our government, all immigrants should go through a very extensive and strict background check for criminal and terrorist activity and NO to new gun laws
    that affect the law abiding citizens’ ability to protect themselves from the
    criminals of this age!

  • Wfeather1942

    14 gun control rallies in the last 60 days in cities with supposed 90% in favor of gun control and they can’t even get 1,200 supporters out of 10’s of millions people.

    Shows how big a lie their movement is based upon!

  • Larry Bauer

    Ask the Brits how well a total ban on handguns is working out for them.
    In a recent survey 86% of those polled said that overturning the current ban on handguns for personal protection was their number one priority.
    The unfortunate truth is that gun control does not make us safer, it simply disarms the law abiding and leaves them at the mercy of criminals.

  • ExNuke

    How much does it pay to be a professional victim and Judas Goat? Does he get free medical insurance and paid vacation? Armed security?

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