Updated: Monday, 16 Apr 2012, 9:39 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 16 Apr 2012, 3:52 PM EDT
RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) - It's been five years since a shooting rampage on the campus of Virginia Tech left 33 dead. Today, state leaders issued their thoughts on the tragedy.
The April 16, 2007, massacre was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner, (D-VA), released the following statement:
" On this fifth anniversary, I join the entire Virginia Tech community in pausing to reflect upon and celebrate the lives that were lost and those that have been forever changed. We salute the strength and resilience of the entire Hokie community, and we celebrate Tech's positive and continuing commitment to public service as an appropriate way to honor all of those who were touched by the April 16th tragedy."
Former Governor and Democratic Senate candidate Tim Kaine issued this statement:
" Five years ago today, the Virginia Tech community was touched by an unimaginable tragedy. Since that terrible day, my thoughts have often returned to those we lost, those who were injured, their families, and the broader community. They have shown remarkable grace and courage in the face of a terrible tragedy and set a powerful example for our Commonwealth. In Virginia, we look out for one another in our time of need...Humans can never fully understand why tragedies occur. We cannot grasp what 32 Virginia Tech families lost on April 16, 2007. But, we can feel what the world lost as we reflect on the remarkable things that these 32 talented people had already accomplished. Today, we stand united as a community in honoring the memory of those we lost."
Senator Jim Webb, (D-VA), releas ed this statement:
“ Five years since the horrific shootings at Virginia Tech, I again express my condolences to the many people who lost loved ones that day. The Blacksburg community and the students of Virginia Tech have inspired our Commonwealth and nation with their remarkable resilience."
“ This tragedy underscored the need to stop those who are mentally ill from acquiring firearms. In recent years, improvements have been made along these lines to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). As a lifelong gun owner who feels strongly about protecting Second Amendment rights, I believe that further steps can be taken — including requiring the use of the NICS system for all people who purchase a firearm in a commercial setting — in order to prevent future tragedies while preserving the rights of law-abiding gun owners.”
The Virginia House Democrats released the following statement:
Delegate David J. Toscano, House Democratic Leader (D-Charlottesville):
" The violence that day shook the world, taking the lives of both promising students and inspired faculty. It is a reminder of how precious every day is, and how suddenly our loved ones can be taken from us. Every member of the House Democratic Caucus extends our most sincere and heartfelt wishes for peace and grace for the victims and survivors. Today, we are all Hokies."
Mark Sickles, Caucus Chairman ( D-Franconia):
" As we take this time to reflect on how to prevent similar incidents on other campuses, we must acknowledge the need to make sure that mentally ill individuals are never able to purchase and possess firearms, especially the kind that can do so much damage in such a short period of time."
Delegate Jennifer McClellan:
" Governor Kaine took the first step by adding outpatient mental health commitments to the handgun background approval process. We implore every state to do the same. We cannot undo the past, but we can prevent future tragedies by recognizing, and properly treating, individuals with mental illnesses and ensuring that they do not have easy access to semi-automatic weapons...For the last five years, we have fought hand in hand with the survivors and their families to close the gun show loophole," said "Closing this loophole will ensure that a rigorous background check is done, and will help prevent individuals who have mental illnesses from obtaining weapons. Together, with the survivors of this catastrophe, I will continue to seek this legislation."
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