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Anti-Violence Groups Hold March As NRA Convention Continues

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- As the NRA Convention continues in downtown Pittsburgh, gun control advocates and protesters who want more restrictions on gun sales led an anti-violence march on Saturday.

Lori Haas' daughter was one of 17 wounded by a gunman who killed 32 others during the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007. She says she wants the NRA to help stop high-risk gun buyers from getting weapons.

"He was a prohibited buyer, and his records… where he had been adjudicated mentally ill, had not been submitted to the national instant check system," said Haas.

On Jan. 8, a shooting in Tucson, Ariz., claimed six lives and wounded 13 others including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. The suspect in that shooting was also a prohibited buyer.

"I was able, when he got the magazine out of his left pockets with his left hand, I was able to get that magazine before he could reload, then I knelt on his ankles," said Pat Maisch, who wants tougher gun laws.

About 200 people from local and national anti-violence groups marched from Freedom Corner to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

They arrived to mostly indifferent stares from convention-goers. One man had an idea that he says may have stopped the Virginia Tech shooting.

"Had students been allowed to carry, there would have been someone in that campus classroom with a gun that would have taken that guy out," said Daniel Vayda, an NRA member.

The marchers are asking NRA President Wayne LaPierre for help to change loopholes in the law that allow private dealers to avoid background checks, and to force states like Pennsylvania to provide mental health records to a national database.

Meanwhile, the NRA claims it's doing its part.

"We've been on record for 30 years supporting those adjudicated by our courts to be mental defective and felons to be entered into that national instant check system and barred from gun ownership," said Rachel Parsons, an NRA spokesperson.

National Rifle Association
Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network

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