Gun Control Rally in Blacksburg Today - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Gun Control Rally in Blacksburg Today

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The debate over guns heads to southwest Virginia today.

Several family members of the Virginia Tech and Newtown victims will be in Blacksburg making a push for universal background checks, then they will spend 12 hours reading the names of victims of gun violence.

It's part of a nationwide bus tour called No More Names: National Drive to Reduce Gun Violence, which is visiting 25 states in 100 days.

A group called Mayors Against Illegal Guns, chaired by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino organized this campaign.

Families of Virginia Tech and Newtown victims involved with the tour say they're doing this to voice their support for universal background checks and to try to encourage lawmakers and average citizens to do the same.

Uma Loganathan, whose father was killed in the April 16 shootings at Virginia Tech, tells us she strongly supports responsible gun owners, but believes background checks need to be expanded to prevent criminals and people who are mentally ill from being able to purchase guns.

Currently, only guns sold by federally licensed dealers are subject to background checks.

Supporters of universal checks say private sales at gun shows, on the Internet, and at flea markets should be subject to those same requirements.

"Nobody should have to go through what I'm going through," Loganathan said. "I watch my mom and my sister every day struggle because we have a missing hole in our life. And we've had to shape our lives around this missing hole. And it's because somebody got their hands on a gun who shouldn't have been able to get their hands on a gun in the first place."

Many gun rights advocacy groups like the National Rifle Association say they don't support universal background checks.

They point out that the current system in place has led to more than 1 million applications for gun permits or transfers being denied.

They argue that criminals won't go the legal routes to get their hands on guns, so expanded checks won't make any kind of impact.

They've also suggested that universal checks could be a stepping stone for a national gun registry down the road.