Monday, November 1, 2010

Contact: Alex Howe, 202.271.7997

Virginia Tech Families Call on Keith Fimian to Close Gun Show Loophole

Fimian refuses to stand with Virginia Tech families to close the Gun Show Loophole

Americans United for Safe Streets adds $100,000 to TV ad campaign, bringing total Virginia campaign to $450,000

Fairfax, VA — Americans United for Safe Streets expanded its campaign to urge Keith Fimian to close the Gun Show Loophole today and is joined by more Virginia Tech family members calling on Fimian to explain his refusal to stand with them.

Last week, Keith Fimian, a candidate for Congress in Virginia's 11th District, told a reporter the April 2007 Virginia Tech shooting would have been averted had students been "packing heat." On Friday, Fimian and his campaign backtracked saying it was an "offhand comment" and that "his words were very poorly chosen" and "did not...take into account the gravity of the situation." When asked if he supports closing the Gun Show Loophole, which enables criminals and the mentally ill to buy guns no questions asked, he refused to answer, and jumped into a car.

"Because I found Keith Fimian's earlier comments about the Virginia Tech tragedy offensive, I met with him yesterday along with other Virginia Tech family members," said retired Lieutenant Colonel Peter Read, father of Virginia Tech victim Mary Karen Read. "And though he offered his apology for the words he chose, he has yet to decide his answer on the simple question of whether he'll support background checks for every gun sold at a gun show.  I need my representative in Congress to know the answer to that question."

Seventy five Virginia Tech family members have called on Congress to close the Gun Show Loophole, including retired Lieutenant Colonel Peter Read.

"It's hard to believe a candidate for the U.S. Congress doesn't appreciate the gravity of the massacre at Virginia Tech," said Omar Samaha, brother of Virginia Tech victim Reema Samaha. "We are tired of politicians who are unwilling to stand up for public safety and support closing the Gun Show Loophole. Why is Keith Fimian protecting criminals instead of protecting us?"

Mr. Samaha appears in the Americans United for Safe Streets TV ad campaign, which coincides with a series of four mailings that highlight Fimian's record on the Gun Show Loophole. The ad can be viewed at:

The four mail pieces that Americans United for Safe Streets are delivering to households in Northern Virginia can be viewed at the following links: 1, 2, 3, 4.

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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.