Father of victim ‘frustrated’ 17 years after Virginia Tech massacre

Posted at 12:13 PM, Apr 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-16 12:13:29-04

RICHMOND, Va. --Tuesday will mark 17 years since Andrew Goddard’s son, Colin, was shot and wounded on the Virginia Tech campus in the worst school shooting ever.

Since 2008, Goddard has turned his grief and passion into advocating for stricter gun laws as the legislative director for the Virginia Center for Public Safety.

Goddard spoke to CBS 6’s Brendan King about what has changed in those 17 years.

“We spend a lot of time and effort and people who should get the answer - refuse to listen. So that might make me a little bit frustrated,” he explained.

In 2023, several bills supported by Goddard and The Virginia Center for Public Safety were signed into law: HB 2378 allows for a tax credit when a gun owner purchases a safety device; and HB 2032 allows for compensating victims of crime.

This year, the non-profit helped support 48 bills on gun violence that passed through both chambers of the General Assembly and onto Governor Glenn Youngkin’s desk. Goddard said Youngkin vetoed 22 of the 30 subjects covered by the various bills.

One of those bills would have implemented a five-day waiting period for gun purchases. Another vetoed bill targets and would prohibit the sale of “assault firearm[s]” made on or after July 1 of 2024.

“I swore an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States of America and the Constitution of Virginia, and that absolutely includes protecting the right of law-abiding Virginians to keep and bear arms,” Youngkin said in a press release.

Virginia Citizens Defense League President Philip Van Cleave responded to Goddard’s claims that Virginia lawmakers haven’t done enough to curb gun violence since the Virginia Tech shooting.

“The bills put in the General Assembly this year by the Democrats were almost all aimed at making it harder to get a concealed handgun permit or reducing the number of places a permit holder could carry. There were also bills that made it harder for a law-abiding citizen to get gun or even banned certain common firearms. There were bills to expand unconstitutional “red flag” laws,” Van Cleave said in a statement.

He said the gun bills this year were not aimed at those with mental problems or violent criminals, but were aimed at “harassing good people who don’t commit crimes.”

Goddard has noticed the increase in the number of victims to gun violence since he began studying the issue in 2008.

“We lost more than 1,300 people in 2021 to gun violence. When I started it was only 800 [people] a year. That’s got to change. We can’t lose people at that rate,” he stated.

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