State Secretary of Homeland Security joins debate at Petersburg gun violence forum

Petersburg town hall on gun violence

PETERSBURG, Va. (WWBT) - The community came together Tuesday asking whether the nation needs to do more to put an end to gun violence. It was the topic of discussion at a town hall forum in Petersburg, where Virginia’s Secretary of Homeland Security Brian Moran joined in on the debate.

He told the crowd Governor Ralph Northam would like to re-instate limitations on gun purchases in Virginia, limiting them to one per month. That former law was repealed in 2012.

"There’s too many guns. There’s no control and it just needs to stop,” said Therese Addington, of Richmond.

A look back the recent mass shootings that have terrified the nation brought out strong opinions.

"If we were here to confiscate guns, they would have to start with me because I have firearms in my own home,” said Robyn Sordelett.

She were there for the town hall organized by Congressman Donald McEachin.

"You absolutely have a right to own a gun but what you don’t have the right to do in my judgement is negligently secure it, so if that gun is used in the commission of a crime and maims someone or hurts someone, I think we need to impose civil liability on you,” the congressman said.

It was a discussion about reform, an idea that even Sordelett is open to.

“I believe there is a way for us to support meaningful changes to gun laws in America and still support the 2nd Amendment…That 2nd Amendment was not written in the days of semi-automatic firearms that can fire rounds as quickly as they can,” the gun owner said.

McEachin says he wants to see universal background checks on private gun sales, and if you’re on the nation’s no-fly list, he says maybe you shouldn’t be able to own a gun either. He also questions if someone should have the right to buy assault-style weapons and magazine clips, but the National Rifle Association feels differently. On it’s website, leaders say magazine bans don’t deter criminals or improve public safety. Instead, they say, they burden the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

Addington says she doesn’t buy it, especially when she thinks about her 11-year-old granddaughter.

“Who calls me and tells me about the drills that they have at school and they have to get underneath the desk. She tells me she’s worried about her friend Chaz who is at the end of the aisle will have to get up and close the door and he’ll be the first one to get shot…What child needs to be worried about that?” Addington added.

On Saturday, Aug. 10, there will be a Safety Awareness event at the Petersburg Library featuring Petersburg Police and Fire, Mothers Against Violent Crimes, and a certified safety coach on hand. The event will be held from 2-4 p.m.

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