A gun control advocate and school shooting survivor told MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry on Saturday that voters must create the environment for politicians to move forward when it comes to instituting more stringent firearms regulations.
“We’ve expressed our sympathies, we’ve expressed our condolences, and our action has ended there,” said Colin Goddard, who was shot four times in the 2007 attack at Virginia Tech that left 31 people dead. “Because of that, we haven’t created a space for politicians to be able to step up and lead.”
Goddard, who currently works for The Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence, said he not only gets outright refusals by politicians when he looks for support on the issue, but what hurts more is when lawmakers tell him they support him privately, but can’t speak out on the larger political stage.
Harris-Perry noted traces of that sentiment from President Barack Obama during his emotional address to the country Friday following the assault at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, where a gunman killed 20 children and 6 adults.
“Certainly part of that was about the president being a father and the emotion that all of us are feeling,” she said. “But the other thing that it felt like to me was, because I’ve seen him when he’s angry, and when he comes out and he says, ‘I’m angry and I have an action here,’ part of those tears felt to me like, ‘And there’s nothing I can do. There is no political coalition that is going to get behind me not having to stand at this podium over and over again and talking about our children being killed.”
Goddard said one key in the issue is for voters outraged about these types of deadly incidents to stay outraged and stay engaged.
“You have to keep talking about this,” he insisted. “You have to engage in this process. Otherwise we’re gonna be having this same conversation the next time a mass shooting happens and be back where we are.”
Goddard’s interview with Harris-Perry begins around the six minute mark of the opening segment of Harris-Perry’s show, and can be seen below.