Sister Of Newtown Shooting Victim Speaks In Columbus

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Carlee Soto (at podium), sister of Newtown school shooting victim Victoria Soto, urged Ohio leaders, including U.S. Senator Rob Portman, to reconsider mandating background checks on all gun sales.(Photo: Mandie Trimble, WOSU News Reporter)
Carlee Soto (at podium), sister of Newtown school shooting victim Victoria Soto, urged Ohio leaders, including U.S. Senator Rob Portman, to reconsider mandating background checks on all gun sales.(Photo: Mandie Trimble, WOSU News Reporter)

The “No More Names” bus tour stopped at the Dodge Community Center on the city’s south side. The group wants state and federal lawmakers to mandate background checks for all gun purchases.

Carlee Soto’s sister, Victoria Soto, died in the Newtown school shooting. She was a teacher.

Until last year, Soto admitted she gave little thought to gun violence.

“Once the Aurora shooting happened I turned off the TV, and I didn’t want to hear anything more about it. I was scared and heartbroken that somebody can do something like that,” Soto said. “Little did I know a few months down the line it’s my reality now. It’s my life.”

“I wish that they would, instead of standing with their guns and not listening, to keep an open mind to what we’re saying.” – Carlee Soto, sister of Newtown shooting victim

Two dozen or so demonstrators protested the event. Kelly Wynn, of Cleveland, said universal background checks are not a solution.

“Most of the ones that do create the crimes, they’ve obtained the guns illegally. So it’s about addressing psychological issues, mental issues, things like that. Law-abiding citizens are not the problem.”

“It’s about addressing the real problem which I don’t believe is the guns. It’s the people themselves. The guns are just a tool.” – Kelly Wynn, Cleveland protester

And Pataskala’s Chuck LaRosa would rather see “gun-free zone” signs traded for armed teachers and security guards.

“When it comes to the children, I mean, they need to be protected. And a sign doesn’t protect anybody,” he said. “A sign actually makes them more vulnerable because a law-abiding citizen can’t get in there and do the job that needs to be done.”

But Soto balked at that suggestion.

“My sister would never have thought to pick up a gun and hold it and try killing someone instead of getting in front of her kids and shielding them and doing whatever it took to save those kids,” Soto said. “I don’t think that having a gun in the school would have done anything.”

Mayor Michael Coleman noted the number of fatal shootings in Columbus has increased 9 percent in the past two years.

Comments
  • Chuck

    If I may make a comment to Ms. Soto, regarding her comment that her sister wouldn’t think of using a gun to defend those children:
    If she were trained, as we are training teachers here in Ohio, She could and probably would, have been able to do a better job protecting them if she were armed. Lacking the means herself, surely someone in the school would have done what Ms. Soto thinks her sister couldn’t have done.
    My heart aches for her and I am truly sorry for her loss, but the group she is with today acknowledges that their “universal background checks” wouldn’t have prevented the tragedy. All of our attention would be better spent focusing on the things that would have made a difference rather than making it harder for law abiding citizens to defend themselves against the very monsters that prey on the weak, the helpless, and the young.

    I am Chuck LaRosa, and I thank WOSU for giving me a fair and honest chance to express my views

    • SHMOM

      If background checks were implemented and used correctly it could prevent mentally ill people from obtaining weapons. We do know that in many of these situations the criminal has no prior record, but does have a history of mental illness. Some of these people have obtained there weapons legally and also have logged in time at a shooting range and/or received certificates. There are obvious records of that…if you can follow that and then have record of their instability cross checked it may prevent more unnecessary deaths. To say it may not prevent anything is a cop out…if it were your child, your mother or father, anyone YOU loved, isn’t that one person worth trying for? I may not hit lotto but you can bet when the jackpot rises I will get a ticket…a slight chance is better than NO chance.

    • Concerned human

      What if a teacher loses it and turns the same tools u r giving to protect the kids on the kids themselves ? What will be ur response to that. Since most of the scenarios are imaginary ( hopefully ). But if magically we can remove all guns even In an imaginary scenario I don’t see anyone hurting the kids. So respectfully I hope arming teachers is not the best we can come up with. Next u may want to arm the kids themselves.

  • dnoice

    Ms. Soto also acknowledged in her own speech that the Manchin-Toomey background check bill may not have prevented the death of her sister.

    After tweeting that everyone in Newtown should hang up on the media vultures that might call for comments and interview, she now tours the country giving interviews to those same media vultures and pushing an anti-gun agenda with laws that won’t fix what she wants fixed.

    For her sister, she has my sorrow. For her position, she has my pity.

  • dnoice

    Our pro-gun attendees numbered 46 at its peak.
    The anti-gun attendees numbered 1 as far as I could tell. All the other people were actually participants in the reading of the names.
    And that 1 person? He threatened to run over the pro-gun group with his car. A police report was made and the man was escorted out of the park.

    The pro-gun group threatened no one.

  • Kim D Campbell

    “I don’t think that having a gun in the school would have done anything.”

    …with the possible exception of leveling the playing field thereby probably saving many (quite honestly likely not all) lives. Other than that, no, nothing…