Sister of Sandy Hook victim makes plea for universal gun background checks

by: Graham Johnson Updated:

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SEATTLE, Wash. —

The sister of a teacher murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary made an emotional plea in Seattle on Monday for universal gun background checks.

Victoria Soto was among the 26 dead.

"The pain I live with every day is real," Carlee Soto said of her sister's murder.  "It does not go away and my heart breaks every day after seeing another shooting."

Now Soto works to reform gun laws and spoke in Seattle at a fundraiser for Initiative 594, which would require universal background checks.

"It's time for change. You have a chance here in Washington to make a difference," said Soto.

People who buy guns from a federally licensed dealer must pass a background check.

There's no law in Washington requiring checks when a gun is bought from a private seller, whether at a gun show or through the Internet.

Cheryl Stumbo, a survivor of Seattle's Jewish Federation shooting, is I-594's citizen sponsor.

"All kinds of crimes are drastically reduced when universal background checks are in place," Stumbo said.

The man who shot Stumbo, Naveed Haq, did pass a background check.

Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook killer, stole guns from his mother.

"They're trying to sell you to vote for this background check on emotional grounds because of that," said Alan Gottlieb of Protect Our Gun Rights.  "They're not being intellectually honest with you on how these killers got their guns to start with."

Gottlieb leads the competing Initiative 591, which would prevent the state from setting up a background check system.

Gottlieb says he supports background checks, but they need to be done at the federal level.

"It isn't workable if it isn't national," Gottlieb said.

Both initiatives will be on the November ballot, and both sides claim they'll be outspent.

But they have very different estimates of how much money they'll need to raise.

Gun control supporters expect to raise $8 million or $9 million.

Gun rights supporters say they'll raise about $1 million and target their campaign directly to gun owners.