RICHMOND, Va. — On the anniversary of one of the deadliest shootings in our nation’s history, family members of the victims at Virginia Tech, called for U.S. lawmakers to act.
On April 16, 2007, in one of America’s worst school attacks, a college senior killed 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech before taking his own life.
“It was 14 years ago today, April 16, 2007, I was at work here in Northern Virginia and my daughter returned to the campus of Virginia Tech,” Peter Read said.
Read joined The Time is Now Coalition in a virtual meeting Friday to call on the U.S. Senate to pass gun violence prevention legislation.
His daughter, freshman Mary Read, was one of 32 people killed that day.
“I’m here to demand that the Senate act now,” said Read.
Andy Goddard was also personally impacted by the Virginia Tech shooting.
“My son was shot four times at Virginia Tech in his French class, but he was lucky to survive,” said Goddard. “Unfortunately, too many of his colleagues and faculty were not so lucky.”
In Friday’s meeting, Goddard said he’d been pushing for stricter gun control regulations ever since.
“It’s not just about mass shootings. It’s about the huge number of people who die every single day. More than 100 will die today, more than 100 died yesterday, more than 100 will die tomorrow,” Goddard said. “After 13 years of work, Virginia has finally gotten the House and Senate and the Governor to pass legislation which now we would like the federal government to mirror.”
Coincidentally, the meeting came just hours after another mass shooting at a FedEx in Indianapolis.
Last week President Biden announced multiple executive actions to combat gun violence in America.
‘You need to be able to protect yourself’
“We’re just seeing our freedoms eroded left and right. You can’t do this, you can’t do that,” Philip Van Cleave, President of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, said.
Van Cleave argued that stricter gun laws infringed on both freedom and safety.
“If something comes up, you need to be able to protect yourself. Because odds are the police will not be there in time,” said Van Cleave.
In the meantime, a Phoenix-based company called Defendry created an innovative tool to prevent another mass shooting.
“It’s an unfortunate problem that needs to be solved,” CEO Pat Sullivan said.
The company has developed AI software that can detect hundreds of weapons, including all different types of guns.
Once detected, it can lock doors, and report information in real-time to law enforcement and on-site security teams.
It’s a tool that Sullivan believed could’ve been lifesaving in recent shootings, like in Indianapolis.
“The gun was out when the shooter was approaching the building. And we would’ve had plenty of time to see that, recognize it, and they would not have gotten in,” said Sullivan.