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Daughter of Slain Virginia Tech Professor: We Must Address Our Nation’s Gun Violence Epidemic

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Relatives of victims of gun violence gathered in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to push for new gun legislation. Relatives included Uma Loganathan. Her father, Professor G.V. Loganathan, was shot and killed on April 16, 2007, in the Virginia Tech massacre. He was teaching advanced hydrology to 14 students at the time of the shooting. Nine of his students were also killed. Uma is now a volunteer fellow at Everytown for Gun Safety’s Survivor Network. She joins us from Washington.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn now to Uma Loganathan. Her father, Professor G.V. Loganathan, was shot and killed on April 16, 2007, in the Virginia Tech massacre. He was teaching advanced hydrology to 14 students at the time of the shooting. Nine of his students were also killed. Uma is a volunteer fellow at Everytown for Gun Safety’s Survivor Network. She attended Wednesday’s protest outside Capitol Hill for gun legislation.

Uma, welcome to Democracy Now! Your thoughts on what’s taking place right now in the House?

UMA LOGANATHAN: Thank you for having me. I think it’s wonderful, to be honest, that they’re sitting on the floor, that they’ve taken over the floor and that they’re demanding votes, because that’s what we put them in Capitol Hill for. That’s why we elected them. We elected them to vote. We elected them to be our voices and to speak for us. And for the speaker to block the vote and to not allow it is, frankly—I think it’s preposterous. It’s ridiculous. You should be allowed to do your job. We hired you to do a job, so do it.

AMY GOODMAN: An assault weapons ban, when you speak to congressmembers, Republican and Democrat, what is the response?

UMA LOGANATHAN: I think—I think the Democrats are more receptive, because at this point they’ve come to accept the fact that we do indeed have a gun violence epidemic in this country. In 2007, when the Virginia Tech massacre happened, I heard—I heard so many things. I heard that it was a fluke, that, you know, it was an incident and mistake. I heard things that were “Oh, this is a one-off,” almost. And it was just so out of the norm for people. And the thing is, gun violence happens everywhere. The Virginia Tech massacre, these mass shootings, once upon a time, they were not this common. I mean, we have—we have 90 people who are killed every day in this country, and the majority of them aren’t dying in mass shootings, they’re dying on our streets. They’re dying in cities. They’re dying in freak accidents. We have toddlers who are killing their parents just because they managed to get handguns. So, I mean, not everything revolves around assault weapons. And I think now, as we’re starting to see more mass shootings occur and as awareness is spreading and there’s more focus on this issue, people are realizing we do have a gun epidemic and a gun problem. And I think the Dems are listening.

I think a lot of their Republican colleagues are struggling to come to terms with this fact that they have the Second Amendment, and they want to protect it, and at the same time there’s all this violence happening. And I don’t think they have managed to reconcile the two in their minds. So, to talk to them about an assault weapons ban, when they haven’t even come to reconcile the fact that we have all of this gun violence and how that interacts with the Second Amendment and how we can respect the Second Amendment while stopping the violence that’s in our country, I mean, if they can’t reconcile those two ideas, how can they even think about an assault weapons ban?

AMY GOODMAN: Uma Loganathan, I want to thank you for being with us, volunteer fellow at Everytown for Gun Safety’s Survivor Network. Her father, Professor G.V. Loganathan, was shot and killed on April 16, 2007, in the Virginia Tech massacre. She attended Wednesday’s protest outside Capitol Hill for gun reform.

This is Democracy Now! When we come back, an historic agreement is being signed off on in Havana, Cuba, around peace talks in Colombia. Stay with us.

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