Vigil canceled, but gun safety groups say message stands

Published: Jan. 19, 2020 at 10:05 PM EST
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The groups that support gun measures now advancing in the General Assembly have canceled their vigil and advocacy day scheduled for Monday afternoon, but they still have a message they hope Virginians will hear.

Richmond was busy Sunday afternoon, as visitors checked into full hotels, and checked out what was happening in Capitol Square.

The buses that won't be coming Monday were bringing supporters of the Virginia Center for Public Safety, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and other groups that believe the state must do more to curb gun violence.

"I don't think we need to put people at unnecessary risk," said Andy Goddard, Legislative Director of the Virginia Center for Public Safety and the father of Colin Goddard, a survivor of the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007.

Goddard said what happened in Charlottesville during the Unite the Right Rally two years ago was weighing on his mind, when he and leaders of other groups decided to cancel their event.

But his message stands.

He says the proposals now advancing in the General Assembly have passed in other states, survived constitutional challenges and are not designed to take away the guns of law-abiding Virginians.

"We've looked at this," Goddard told WDBJ7. "We know that background checks, extreme risk protection orders, things like that, they are not going to stop an ordinary law-abiding Virginian from protecting themselves with a gun, or being able to keep that gun."

It will be interesting to see if that perspective is represented in Capitol Square Monday.

Traditionally, people on both sides of the gun debate have their say on Lobby Day.

But with a huge crowd of gun rights supporters expected, and the state of emergency in effect, this year could be different.

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