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NBC Washington: Virginia Democrats Push Gun Reforms After News Crew Is Killed Print

Created:  Thursday, August 27, 2015 7:59PM


As Virginians and people worldwide mourn the deaths of the young reporter and photographer shot on the air Wednesday in southwest Virginia, some political leaders are calling on Virginians and fellow politicians to reform gun laws.

Just hours after WDBJ-TV employees Alison Parker and Adam Ward were killed, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe renewed his call to close gun law loopholes.

"Keeping guns out of the hands of people who would use them to harm our family, friends and loved ones is not a political issue; it is a matter of ensuring that more people can come home safely at the end of the day," he said Wednesday afternoon in a statement.

Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington) didn't waste much time either. He launched a petition seeking support for legislation to require comprehensive background checks for all gun purchases in the state. He has sponsored a gun law reform bill several times, only to see it defeated.

Hope defended the timing of his political push.

"Yes, I'm taking advantage of a situation where it's really raw for people right now, but people are frustrated and we've got to quit hiding behind this do-nothing attitude," he said. "If we don't do something, it will continue to happen."

Del. David Ramadan (D-Loudoun) criticized Hope and McAuliffe, saying they were inappropriately politicizing the horrific shooting.

"We have a tragedy. We have two Virginians that had died yesterday. Give them the respect that they deserve," Ramadan said Thursday.

"This person had bought a gun legally. He had gone through a background check, so it's apples and oranges and people jumping on a bandwagon they shouldn't be jumping on," he said.

McAuliffe criticized delegates for "bogging discussion about this tragedy and the important issue of preventing gun violence down in unnecessary partisan attacks.

"In a country where these incidents happen virtually every day, when do these delegates think would be a good time to have this conversation?" he continued. "Virginians need real leadership on these issues, not more petty partisan sniping."

Andy Parker, father of the 24-year-old reporter killed, said he wants to make it harder for mentally ill people to get guns.

"I'm going to do something, whatever it takes, to get gun legislation -- to shame people, to shame legislators into doing something about closing loopholes and background checks and making sure crazy people don't get guns," he said Wednesday on the Fox News show "The Kelly File."