The sister of a Newtown, Conn., school shooting victim spoke in Columbus on Tuesday to urge state and local leaders to support universal background checks on all gun sales. WOSU’s Mandie Trimble reports the event was met with opposition.
The “No More Names” bus tour stopped at the Dodge Community Center on the city’s south side. The group wants state and federal lawmakers to mandate background checks for all gun purchases.
Carlee Soto’s sister Victoria Soto died in the Newtown school shooting. She was a teacher. Until last year, Soto admitted she gave little thought to gun violence.
"Once the Aurora shooting happened, I turned off the TV and I didn’t want to hear anything more about it," she said. "I was very scared and heartbroken that somebody can do something like that. Little did I know, a few months down the line, it’s my reality now. It’s my life."
Two dozen or so demonstrators protested the event. They say more focus should be placed on mental health. And Pataskala’s Chuck LaRosa would rather see armed teachers and security guards.
“When it comes to the children, I mean, they need to be protected," he said.
"My sister would never have thought to pick up a gun and hold it and try killing someone instead of getting in front of her kids and shielding them and doing whatever it took to save those kids," she said.
Mayor Michael Coleman noted the number of fatal shootings in Columbus has increased 9 percent in the past two years.