Ken Cuccinelli and Terry McAuliffe squared off Thursday for their final debate before election day, but before the candidates stepped up to the podiums, the survivors and family members of the Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook school shootings held a news conference.
They wanted to highlight the need for background checks on all gun sales.
Those affected took turns sharing their tragic stories, using them as examples of why they firmly believe gun control is an important issue and needs to stay a central topic in current and future political races.
"[We need to] talk about how we can prevent future shootings and tragedies from happening to other Virginians," said Colin Goddard, a survivor of the April 16 tragedy. "Things like background checks on all gun sales - that 90 percent of Virginians support - needs to be front and center of our debate. And we want to make sure that is the case, that the people who lost their lives are remembered, and solutions that will keep others from that fate are front and center at the debate."