VA Tech shooting survivor talks gun safety at ASU
On April 16, 2007, a shooter opened fire on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va., killing 32 students and faculty while wounding more than a dozen others.
Four years later, one of the tragedy’s survivors is speaking out in light of Senate Bill 1467, a new piece of Arizona legislation that would allow anyone with a permit to carry a concealed weapon on college campuses statewide.
Colin Goddard, who has become a voice for stricter background check laws when purchasing firearms, was on Tempe campus Wednesday night to show his documentary “Living for 32” and to facilitate discussion on the bill in question.
The movie tells the story of the Virginia Tech tragedy and Goddard’s efforts to curb gun violence. He was 21 years old during the time of the tragedy and was shot four times by the gunman. The film’s title refers to the 32 who lost their lives in the Virginia Tech shooting and to the 32 who die every day in the U.S. from gun-related incidents.
The event was sponsored by The Brady Campaign, an organization dedicated to preventing gun violence.
“We came here after hearing about the legislation and about the tragedy in Tucson,” Goddard said. “I empathized with them and when I was there I encouraged them to turn this negative into a positive and do something good with their experience.”
The same advice could be given to those in protest of the Arizona bill, he said.
“I don’t know much about the bill and came to learn more,” mechanical engineering sophomore Christina Hays said. “The bill does not sound good, especially after the shooting in Tucson.”
She is not alone in that belief. According to an opinion poll conducted by the Arizonans for Gun Safety organization, 69 percent of those surveyed opposed the bill and 56 percent of gun owners within the survey opposed the bill as well.
SB 1467 was passed by one vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee and is expected to go to a vote in the full Senate this week.
Goddard encouraged students to speak out about things they are passionate about in order to make the changes they believe need to be made. He urged attendees of Wednesday’s event to contact local legislators to speak their mind.
“‘Crazy people do crazy things, Colin, and there is nothing you can do to stop it.’ I’ve heard that statement too many times since I was shot and I reject that premise. I say we can and must do better,” Goddard said.
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