Parents of theater shooting victim weigh in on Las Vegas, gun control and what's next

Jessica Ghawi was shot and killed in a movie theater in Aurora in 2012. Her parents are now gun control advocates and speak out after the Las Vegas shooting. 10/2/17.

KUSA - More than five years ago, Lonnie and Sandy Phillips’ lives changed forever.

Their daughter Jessica Ghawi was one of the 12 people killed when a gunman opened fire on an Aurora movie theater just after midnight on July 20, 2012. Seventy others were injured.

Late Sunday night marked another mass shooting, this one claiming the lives of 59 people and wounding 527 others on the Las Vegas strip.

After Jessica’s death, Lonnie and Sandy Phillips have become gun control advocates, and say they’re frustrated that more hasn’t been done to quell the violence.

Colorado and 18 other states have expanded background checks on all gun sales.

“We’ve been living with frustration since after a few days after our daughter was killed,” Lonnie said. “This is just the beginning for these victims.

“They’re going to get victimized as we were by the nonprofit that collected all these funds for us, we had to fight for those.”

Those opposed to gun laws say it violates basic freedoms.

Dudley Brown, the president of the National Association for Gun Rights, said “this is the time for comforting victims and coming together to support our neighbors. It is not the time to push a work-out gun control agenda.”

Sandy says she sympathizes with the victims, that she knows what countless families will go through as they adjust to a new reality.

“We know the pain these people are going through right now, and the shock and the disbelief and the questioning of ‘how does this keep happening?” Sandy said.

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