Lawmakers sound off on gun safety laws

"My biggest fear is honestly seeing my friends get hurt or shot really... I'd rather see myself go than my friends because I just don't know how I would live with that."

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WVEC) -- Students across the country are dealing with a new reality that comes with going to school in the year 2018.

Reagan Young is a 14-year-old freshman at Western Branch High School. She said she is frightened while in school due to the Parkland, Florida shooting.

“I constantly have to look at the door and think, ‘Oh there’s not a security officer there, there’s no metal detector,” said Young.

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Young’s 17-year-old sister, Maggie Mae, added that she wouldn’t know what to do if a someone entered her classroom and started shooting.

“My biggest fear is honestly seeing my friends get hurt or shot really,” said Young. “I’d rather see myself go than my friends because I just don’t know how I would live with that.”

Addressing gun safety laws has been one of the touchiest issues in the General Assembly this session, with constituents putting pressure on lawmakers to make gun laws stricter.

“I think it falls along party lines,” said 85th District Del. Cheryl Turpin (D). “I think one team looks at it one way and the other team looks at it a different way.”

Dozens of gun safety measures were killed this year, including a push for background checks and a ban on bump stocks.

“They’re the types of common sense things that the general public is really in favor of and we need to have a deeper, longer discussion on those types of things here in the general assembly rather than just summarily killing them in the committee meeting,” said District 6 Sen. Lynwood Lewis (D).

However, Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment said lawmakers ran up against deadlines. Norment explained if the Parkland shooting occurred at the beginning of the session, there might have been different results with gun legislation.

“I think there is a lot of latitude in Virginia for us to improve gun safety,” said Norment. “Where that compromise language is, I can’t tell you right this instance, we’ve got some very firm second amendment advocates.”

The Young sisters argue the issue goes beyond party politics. They said the focus should be protecting lives.

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“I’m done hearing this everywhere, I’m done seeing people go through this, it’s really gotten really bad and it shouldn’t happen anymore,” said Reagan Young.