Gun Violence Victims Speak Out As Thousands Unite for NRA Convention

One city, two very different opposing views.

This weekend, the NRA packed in about 70,000 people at their 143rd annual meeting in Indianapolis. Just a few blocks away, a smaller group called Everytown is making noise.

Gun violence survivors and moms from across the U.S. are rallying for “commonsense” solutions to end gun violence. What they are asking for is mainly background checks on gun purchases.

“My question always is which part of the background check would take away your gun?” Colin Goddard, a victim of gun violence, told Fusion. “If it’s not the part of your felony record or your domestic violence abuse. If it’s not that, you will buy the gun every time.”

Colin was in French class at Virginia Tech on the early morning of April 16, 2007 when he heard gun shots coming from the hall. In a matter of seconds his life drastically changed.

“I’ve thought about the morning in my classroom every which way. I think it’s natural for people to relive these kind of experiences and I think about having a gun and shooting him and saving the day, to me trying to do something and getting killed,” says Colin.

He was shot four times and survived. Today he is a Senior Policy Advocate at Everytown for Gun Safety. The organization brings together Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Mayors Against Illegal Guns — it’s the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country with more than 1.5 million supporters.

Erica Lafferty is another active member. She says not a day goes by that she doesn’t think of her mother, Dawn Hochsprung, the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown where 20 children and 6 staff members were killed.

“If she was here and I was killed in school that day she would do anything in her power to honor me and everything in her power to make sure that no mom ever had to feel the pain of losing a kid. And I just want to make sure that no kid ever has the pain of losing their mom,” says Erica.

She says their organization doesn’t want to take away guns from owners, rather make sure there are safety steps taken when buying a gun.

According to a Pew Research Center study 74% of Americans who live in a house where they or someone else is an NRA member favored the idea of making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks.

Is this reflective of a new generation of NRA members? Fusion went to the NRA convention to find out. See the full report on AMERICA with Jorge Ramos soon.