Virginia families torn apart by school shooting lobby Congress

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The shooting at a Florida high school last month prompts victims of Virginia gun violence to call for reform.

Voices of those permanently scarred by shootings echoed through the halls of Congress Wednesday. One of them belonged to Kimberly Bose.

Her son, Joe, was shot and killed near Hampton University's campus in October 2015. Police still haven't found the shooter.

"This was evil behind a gun with reckless abandon," Bose said in remarks addressed to U.S. Senate democrats during a Wednesday hearing.

In 2007, two rounds grazed the head of Lori Haas' daughter when a gunman opened fire at Virginia Tech. "Inaction is harming the very people who harm our families," she told the senators.

Congress is considering at least 15 new bills since last month's mass shooting at a Florida high school. But, on Capitol Hill, proposed gun reform rarely becomes law.

"We can't let this moment pass and show that Congress is unwilling to respond," said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia).

Kaine wants universal background checks, limits on magazine sizes, and a ban on assault weapons. He acknowledges those will be tough sells with his Republican colleagues. "The republicans have some ideas that are on the table," he said, "but they're steering around the problem, they don't want to deal with this issue of gun violence."

Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-Virginia) represents Virginia Tech's district and is a strong supporter of the second amendment. "I certainly think we have to take a look at a number of the issues that have been raised," he said.

For him, proposed legislation must answer two questions: is it constitutional and will it make a difference? In a Wednesday interview, Griffith said he won't support or dismiss a proposal until he reads it and subjects it to his test.

"I wouldn't say that my positions have changed [since the Florida shooting]," he said, "I'm thinking about new things, and ways that we can actually address the problem."

Griffith remains skeptical of universal background checks, but said he's open to taking guns from people diagnosed with mental illness and deemed a threat to others.

The families that spoke Wednesday said they'll keep coming back until Congress acts. A well-publicized gun reform rally is scheduled for March 24th.

To see our full interviews with Lori Haas, Sen. Kaine, and Rep. Griffith click on the videos above.



 
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