Five years ago today, my little sister Reema was killed in the Virginia Tech massacre. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss her and imagine all the amazing things she would be doing if she were still alive today..
And what makes it worse is knowing that the person who murdered my sister never should have been able to buy a gun in the first place. He was federally prohibited from legally buying a gun, but he passed a background check because his mental health records never made it into the right database. My family and I, and our community, live with the tragic consequences of this dangerous gap in the system.
Please watch the video I recorded at Virginia Tech in honor of my sister and the 31 others who lost their lives 5 years ago today. Then send a message urging your governor to take the simple steps needed to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.
I’m grateful that following the Virginia Tech tragedy, my state got serious about preventing the next one. Virginia now leads the country in mental health records submitted per 100,000 residents to the national background check system.
But most states have not done what it takes to close the deadly gaps in our background check system. In fact, 23 states have submitted fewer than 100 mental health records to the federal background check system. Millions of records identifying seriously mentally ill people around the country are still missing. And every missing record is another tragedy waiting to happen.