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State Lawmakers take aim at proposed gun legislation

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - There are several bills going before a Senate committee that could change some of Virginia’s gun laws.  On Wednesday several gun control advocates were at the General Assembly voicing their concerns.  Instead of loosening some of the laws, the group is focused on strengthening “the state’s weak gun laws.”

Senator Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) is sponsoring a bill to implement universal background checks.  The lawmaker says the idea behind the bill is to help prevent those including juveniles, felons and the mentally ill from purchasing guns.

Governor Bob McDonnell told CBS 6 he was planning to study the bills, to help decide what is best for Virginians.

“I’ll look at what if any restrictions that this bill might put on our law abiding citizens.  At the end of the day we try to do what’s right for public safety,” said Governor McDonnell.

Omar Samaha, the brother of Virginia Tech victim Reema Samaha, was in attendance at the General Assembly along with lawmakers and law enforcement officers.  The gun control advocates are pushing to also keep guns off college campuses.

“I think our focus needs to be on prevention as opposed to reaction,” said Omar Samaha.  “We are still learning from April 16th.  We’ve done a lot, but there’s a lot we need to do and we haven’t been doing it.  I think arming students is a last resort.”

The gun bills are awaiting action from a Senate committee.