Virginia Tech documentary screening in Richmond Monday

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - On Monday, Richmonders will get a first look at a documentary about the Virginia Tech massacre, and it's already getting a lot of buzz.

The film features survivor Colin Goddard as he travels across the country to bring awareness to gun violence. It comes as the nation is once again debating gun control in the wake of last weekend's shootings in Arizona.

Monday's screening begins a full day of gun violence awareness in the Capitol city. The Bell Tower will be the backdrop for a vigil for all those killed from Tucson to Blacksburg. The film drums up horrific memories and heated debate.

From survivor to advocate. The film "Living For 32" begins with Colin Goddard recounting that fateful day in April 2007.

"I was in the right place at right time. I was in class," said Goddard at the beginning of the film.

After his recovery, Goddard embarks on a quest for more gun control.

"I think it's a great story of someone taking something that was really bad, and process it, and turn it into something good," said Andrew Goddard, Colin's father.

Andrew Goddard said the Tucson tragedy one week ago brought back chilling memories and added more fuel to Colin's fight.

"We knew that, again, many people were going to come forward and say 'oh yeah there were flags.' You've got to wait for that every time. It's not good enough," said Goddard.

More mental health awareness may be the only thing the Goddards and gun rights lobbyist Philip Van Cleave agree on.

"Indeed, if it's anything, it's a mental health issue and that's got nothing to do with gun shows," said Van Cleave, President of Virginia Citizens Defense League.

Andrew Goddard says the film may surprise Van Cleave.

"It wouldn't have changed anything that happened at Virginia Tech. It wouldn't have changed what happened in Arizona. That person also didn't buy at a gun show and he went through a background check," said Van Cleave.

Goddard said the mission isn't about taking rights away, but keeping guns out of the wrong hands.

"If a person is law abiding and trained and uses the weapon for legitimate purposes, I have no problem with that," said Goddard.

Colin Goddard plans to meet with lawmakers on Monday.

"Living For 32" will screen at the Richmond YWCA on North 5th Street at 12:30 p.m. Then at 3 p.m., there will be a vigil to remember victims of gun violence at the Bell Tower on State Capitol grounds.

"Living For 32" will be shown at the Sundance Film Festival on January 22nd. The documentary was also submitted for an Academy Award.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.