SPECIAL REPORT: Facts about Firearms Part 2 - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

SPECIAL REPORT: Facts about Firearms Part 2

(WTVM) -

The debate over guns in our country is a hot topic, and WTVM News Leader 9 has been digging into the issue.

Two weeks ago, Chandi Lowry explained the differences between guns that are considered controversial and spoke with gun advocates and people against guns.

In the second part of "Facts about Firearms," she went straight to local lawmakers on both sides of the issue and talked to a Pine Mountain family who lost their son in the Virginia Tech shooting.

It's been almost 6 years since the deadliest school shooting in our country took place in Blacksburg, VA.

April 16, 2007 was the day Jeri and Michael Bishop lost their son Christopher, whom they lovingly called Jamie.

"We miss him," Jeri said while crying. "Our whole family misses him."

Jamie was teaching German at Virginia Tech, and the Bishops believe he was the first person shot in the massacre.

Since then, several other deadly shootings have rocked the country.

"I think every day about all the others at Virginia Tech and Columbine and Sandy Hook and Aurora and it just breaks your heart," Jeri commented. "We didn't sleep for weeks, probably six months we couldn't sleep well so I know that they are experiencing the same things."

Jeri and Michael have been fighting for gun regulation.

"We had hoped that after the shootings in Blacksburg which was the largest, the biggest, the most dreadful mass killing mass shooting in the history of this country, school shooting that something would be done," Michael said. "We had high hopes that after that particular event something would be done in the way of regulating those kinds of weapons."

The Bishops believe access to semi automatic weapons and high cap magazines took their son away.

"[The shooter] was able to kill a great many people because he had semi automatic pistols and magazines that held a lot of bullets," Michael said.

Gun advocates like Congressman Lynn Westmoreland believe just the opposite and say people kill people, not guns, and stand by the second amendment.

The Bishops have reached out to him asking for gun regulation.

Westmoreland sent a letter stating the country doesn't need more gun laws, but to better enforce the laws we have.

"If somebody wants to buy a gun, they are going to buy a gun," Westmoreland said. "We need to do more with our law enforcement on the laws that are already on the books rather than try and do something that's on the backdoor to confiscate weapons."

The Bishops also would like universal background checks to stop gun show sales that don't require registration.

Representative Carolyn Hugley is a gun owner but agrees with this concept.

"The biggest loophole is at gun shows they don't do that, and what's the difference from buying a gun at a gun show and going to a gun dealer and buying a gun?" she asked.

Westmoreland disagrees.

"Look, if I take a gun to a gun show to sell it then I'm going to sell it to a dealer evidently that dealer already has a license to sell a firearm that would be stupid for me to require to have to have a background check on him," he said.

Westmoreland said he feels for the Bishops, but he believes in the second amendment.

He does want the violence to end and he said one way is to get help for people with mental disabilities.

The Bishops and Westmoreland can agree on that.

Jeri and Michael have no anger toward the man who killed their son because he was mentally unstable.

"I'm sorry that life led him to that particular moment when he destroyed countless lives, not just the people that he shot in Norris hall in Virginia Tech, but all of those people who cared about those people," they said.  

They Bishops try to heal by honoring Jamie with tributes and memories.

"I'll never forget a letter that we got from some neighbors after he died saying that they saw him raking leaves in his front yard and it was a huge pile of leaves and children went over there and started to jump in them," Jeri said. "They said no, no don't do that and Jamie said oh no let them do it and Jamie started to do it with them."

Jamie, who was so full of life, was gone two days after playing in the leaves with children, but the intelligent, well-traveled man left behind books he illustrated and stories he has written.

While gun advocates have the right to bear arms, the Bishops hope that our country's leaders will take action and make changes and they hope no one else has to feel their pain.

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