Groups Pushing For Background Checks For Gun Purchases - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

Groups Pushing For Background Checks For Gun Purchases

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On the day after the Sandy Hook massacre, a group was formed called Moms Demand Action. They now have thousands of members and chapters all across the country and they are pushing hard for universal background checks for gun purchases.

Julie Eichorn is active with the Columbus Chapter of Moms Demand Action. She says the group has been fashioned after the powerful grassroots organization, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). "We are in this for the long haul because we never want some mom to put her 6-year-old on the bus in the morning and have to go identify that child's body in the afternoon in the morgue," Eichorn said.

Eichorn and others gathered in downtown Columbus Wednesday for the screening of a new television ad promoting the idea of universal background checks. The ad campaign is funded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his organization, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and highlights a Wisconsin case of domestic violence that ended with murder.

Elvin Daniel, a gun owner and NRA member, is the narrator of the ad and describes the death of his sister, Zina, at the hands of her estranged husband: "Zina had a restraining order against her husband that prevented him from buying a gun - so he bought it from a private seller. Had there been a background check my sister Zina would still be with us right now."

Sen. Rob Portman, (R-Ohio), told reporters Wednesday he would oppose universal background checks that require registration or gun owners and said he believes background checks can be improved by enforcing existing laws including better state reporting of mental health related court orders.

"States are supposed to report and sometimes they do and sometimes they don't," Portman said. "So the background check system isn't working as well as it should under current law and can that be tightened up? Of course."

But Eichorn says existing laws don't address the issue of private guns sales. "Enforcing what we already have is not going to be doing anything to help with the problem," Eichorn said.

Kelly Cameron says, as a child she watched her step-father hold a gun to her sisters head as a way to threaten her mother. Cameron, now a Columbus chapter leader with Moms Demand Action, says universal background checks would be a step in the right direction. "We feel that probably is the single most effective means to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them," Cameron said.  

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