Tuesday, October 27, 2010

Contact: Alex Howe, 202.271.7997

Brother of Virginia Tech Victim Calls for End to Gun Show Loophole in New TV Ad

Ad calls on Virginians to contact Keith Fimian and ask him to stand up for closing a deadly gap in gun background checks

Fairfax, VA -- Omar Samaha, whose sister Reema was killed in the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, today unveiled a new television advertisement focusing on the Gun Show Loophole, a gap in the law that allows some sellers at gun shows in Virginia to sell weapons without conducting a background check of the purchaser. The ad, which features Mr. Samaha, also points to congressional candidate Keith Fimian's failure to call for closing the Gun Show Loophole. Forty-nine Virginia police chiefs have joined 75 Virginia Tech family members and survivors to support closing the Gun Show Loophole. Also, polls have found that 81% of Virginians support closing the Gun Show Loophole, as well as 69% of NRA members.

"Preserving the Gun Show Loophole only protects criminals, not Virginians," said Mr. Samaha, a 26-year old VA Tech graduate. "I don't want to wait around to see whose sister is next. No family should have to go through what we've suffered and Keith Fimian should not stand in the way of keeping people safe. It's time to close the Gun Show Loophole once and for all."

In 2009, in an effort to expose the risks posed by the Gun Show Loophole, Mr. Samaha participated in an ABC 20/20 investigative report at a Richmond, VA gun show. He easily acquired 10 guns, including a Glock similar to the one that killed his sister, with no background check -- all in less than an hour.

A study by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives found that about 30% of all the guns detected in gun trafficking investigations were connected to gun shows and flea markets.

The six-figure television ad campaign coincides with a series of four mailings arriving at Virginia homes this week that highlight Fimian's record on the Gun Show Loophole. The ad will begin airing Tuesday, October 26, 2010 for a five-day cable run in Northern Virginia. The media campaign is sponsored by Americans United for Safe Streets (AUSS), a non-partisan advocacy organization working to reduce violent crime. The ad and examples of the mailings can be viewed at The ad and mailings are part of a seven-figure media and mail campaign AUSS is launching in four states to focus on the gun crime and public safety positions of both Democrats and Republicans.

# # #

Americans United for Safe Streets is a non-partisan advocacy organization that is working to educate the public and elected leaders about the need for stronger enforcement and smarter policies to reduce violent crime and keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

Examples of the mailings can be viewed on the Americans United for Safe Streets Web site: