Parents of UVA victim call for gun control

Parents of UVA victim call for gun control
AP Photo/Steve Helber

The shooting at the University of Virginia was just the first in a series of high-profile shootings that renewed a lot of calls for gun control.

That’s not overly surprising. You have three mass shootings that close together and you’re going to see that, particularly since you have calls for that even when nothing happens.

But the parents of one of the victims are part of those calls now.

The parents of a University of Virginia football player killed in a shooting last month called Thursday for stricter gun laws and more mental health support to prevent future gun deaths.

“My son was a loving, caring young man,” Happy Perry, the mother of D’Sean Perry, told reporters at a news conference in their home state of Florida. “He loved his family. He loved his teammates. And this is heartbreaking right now. I would like to advocate on his behalf for mental health and our gun violence laws.”

She added: “I’m asking that the football world takes a stand and join us in this fight.”

Haggard, the attorney, said in a statement following the news conference, that Jones’ attempts to illegally buy firearms should have raised concerns.

“The law should be that once there are two red flags (trying twice to buy the gun), there should be a further inquiry into the purchase,” Haggard said.

Perry’s mother said at the news conference: “The red flags were there. And this young man was still able to purchase a firearm. And that in itself is a red flag for our nation.”

That’s easy to say after the fact.

However, one of those denials was because he was underage while it appears the second was because he was facing felony charges for a hit-and-run accident.

When he bought the gun, the charges had been downgraded and there was nothing prohibiting him from getting the handgun.

Looking back, yeah, it seems unusual, but what would further inquiry have revealed? That a guy who wanted a gun still wanted one? He was of legal age and wasn’t facing felony charges, so just what reason would there have been to dig any deeper than that?

I get they lost their son. I can’t even imagine what that’s like. Suffering loss of any kind is hard enough, as I’ve recently been reminded, but losing your child has to be so much worse.

Yet that doesn’t mean that reality will change. There’s little chance anyone could see this and recognize what would come.

It should also be noted that most mass shooters don’t face multiple denials. They usually don’t have factors that inhibit the lawful purchase of a firearm.

What these parents should be asking, though, is why wasn’t he prosecuted for the felony he faced. Even if he didn’t do prison time, he still would have been prohibited from buying a handgun. Wouldn’t that be far more useful than changing the laws to accommodate a one-time instance?

I get that they’re upset, but this isn’t going to change what happened, and gun control won’t prevent it from happening again.