Background check rally at Capitol

Published 08/21 2013 05:46PM

Updated 08/21 2013 05:49PM

SPRINGFIELD -- Survivors of victims of gun violence are calling on Congress to enact universal background checks for all gun sales, but firearm advocates aren't having it. Guns have killed more than 6,700 people in the U.S. so far this year. So, protestors rallied at the State House demanding change. WCIA-3's Alexandrea Davis keeps us Connected to the Capitol.

The protestors believe universal background checks will save lives. These Organizing for Action (OFA) volunteers say stricter gun laws could prevent shootings such as Sandy Hook, Northern Illinois and Virginia Tech from happening in the future, because they believe the mentally ill should not have access to firearms.

"It was near the end of the classroom period when someone kicked in a classroom door, walked onto stage, shot the instructor and then turned his gun on the students."

Mary Kae Mace's daughter was shot and killed at Northern Illinois University on Valentine's Day 2008. 19-year old Ryanne Mace died along with four others.

"I can't describe it. I just feel compelled to keep anybody from falling into what my life has become."

Investigators later determined the shooter had undergone treatment for mental illness, but his health records were not available when he underwent a background check to buy the firearms he used that day.

"I can't do anything about what happened to my daughter. All I can do is try to make it not happen to anybody else."

Mace is joining the efforts of OFA to call on Congress to pass universal background checks, but Tom Shafer, of Guns Save Lives, says controlling guns won't control criminals or the mentally ill.

"Clearly the mentally ill should not access firearms. How we'll affect the mentally ill community while preserving the rights of the non-mentally ill community escapes me."

Shafer says the group's demonstration is just another way to pull at heart strings.

"These people are driven by loss. They're in a world of loss. They would bring the whole world to a screeching halt because they've suffered a loss they cannot deal with."

Gun rights advocates continue to argue whatever the law, criminals will still break them.

Earlier this week, Illinois became the ninth state to require the reporting of lost or stolen guns. Gun owners and NRA members in the state overwhelmingly support the measure. 78% of NRA members support it, with more than half strongly supporting it.

Meanwhile, the vast majority of gun owners agree. Nationwide, this requirement has similar support.

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