Chardon survivors weigh in on gun control debate

6:19 PM, Aug 14, 2013   |    comments
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Chardon Survivors Nick Walcazk and Nate Mueller addressed the group, saying they want to see gun violence go away.
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  • AKRON -- Two sides of the gun control debate raged in Akron as Mayors Against Illegal Guns makes a stop in town.

    The No More Names tour drew a crowd to hear from survivors of the Chardon High School shooting.

    Chardon Survivors Nick Walczak and Nate Mueller addressed the group, saying they want to see gun violence go away.

    "My life was changed and so was Nate's and so was the Chardon community's," said Walczak, who was left paralyzed after being shot four times in February 2012.

    "I just want to see America safer than it's been the last two years," he said. 

    "We need background checks. It needs to be solid. We can't let anybody slip through the cracks. We need to know who has weapons. We need to know they are being safe," said Mueller, who was grazed by a bullet in the shooting. 

    Other community activists though say the policies Mayors Against Illegal Guns is advocating, aren't the ones that will make a difference.

    "Every gun owner wants guns to be safe," said Amanda Suffecool, who is part of the Realize Firearms Awareness Coalition. "But right now, the only people who abide by the extending and the gun laws, are the law abiding. Criminals ignore the laws. That's why it's already called illegal."

    Northeast Ohio Carry protested with signs and openly carried weapons outside the event.

    "It gives us a chance to talk to people that we may have not had the chance to before," said Brett Pucillo, who serves as president of the group.

    The politics different, but that's what Walczak wants too - more people participating in the conversation about gun violence.

    "I feel like I do need to start making a difference. Maybe I was put on here, or kept on earth to do this, and if it was, I'm going to do it, you know?" he said. 

    Walczak says things are going well for him, and he's enrolling in college this fall to study electrical engineering. The service dog Walczak is receiving from WAGS 4 KIDS will start training with him next month. 

    Related article: Nick Walczak meets his future service dog behind bars

    The No More Names bus tour is making stops in 25 states in 100 days to advocate for stricter background checks and other gun laws.

    At each stop they read aloud the names of Americans killed with guns since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting -- that number Wednesday was at 8,021 victims.

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