Father of Newtown shooting victim speaks in Richmond - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Father of Newtown shooting victim speaks in Richmond

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

The father of Newtown shooting victim Jesse Heslin spoke in Richmond Thursday, in favor of background checks for all gun purchases.

Neil Heslin's 6-year-old son was shot and killed while in his first-grade class at Sandy Hook Elementary. Since then, Heslin has joined the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns on their nationwide tour called, "No More Names:National Drive to Reduce Gun Violence."

The group held a rally in Byrd Park Thursday. The rally came on the same day that a new poll shows Virginians want the group's founder, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to stay out of Virginia's gun issues.

The poll was released by Quinnipiac University. It shows 42% of Virginians want the State Legislature to address Bloomberg's claim that most illegal guns come from the Commonwealth. 52% do not.

Heslin wants Virginians to pass stricter gun laws. He believes universal background checks could help curb gun violence.

"It's not unreasonable to have universal background checks," said Heslin. "Most people want that."

At the rally, a few pro-gun advocates showed up to have their voice be heard. Paul Henick, a local gun owner, told NBC12 that background checks won't help future victims and would not have stopped Adam Lanza from opening fire on Sandy Hook.

"He murdered his mother, stole her guns and then went to the school," said Henick. "How would a background check stop him?"

As the gun control debate continues, Heslin and Mayors Against Illegal Guns will continue their tour asking local lawmakers to pass stricter gun control measures.

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