Local shooting survivor happy with action in gun control debate

Local shooting survivor happy with action in gun control debate
SEATTLE -- The gun control debate is raging on throughout the country, but perhaps no one understands what's at stake better than those who survived mass shootings here in Western Washington.

It was 6-years ago that a gunman shot Cheryl Stumbo in her stomach in what was then the Jewish Federal Building in downtown Seattle. Stumbo said the country has waited long enough for legislation aimed at gun violence.

Others touched by gun violence think President Obama's newly-announced gun control proposals miss the mark.

Stumbo said she's come to terms with the 2006 shooting that left her co-worker dead and herself and four others badly wounded.

"I needed to be strong enough myself, and I needed to have enough distance from what happened to me so I wasn't wrapped up in that sadness," she said.

Stumbo is going public as a gun control advocate, and she's encouraged by the national dialogue Obama outlined on Wednesday.

She especially agrees with tighter background checks and limits on magazine clip sizes, even though neither proposal would have stopped the hate-crazed gunman who burst into her office 6-years ago.

"We can't let the fact that one change isn't going to change everything," she said. "(But that shouldn't) stop us from making change happen."

More families were ripped apart when four people died inside Café Racer last May. The gunman's father said banning guns and clip sizes wouldn't have saved their lives either. He thinks Obama's plan goes in too many directions to work.

"I has a lot of wasted energy," said Walt Stawicki.

Stawicki said access to mental health care is the only way to keep sick people from hurting others. Obama has some mental health proposals, but Stawicki believes they need to play a larger role.

"Everything that I've heard about the mental health aspects are good, but still not enough," he said.

While she knows there is now single way to keep gun violence from happening, Stumbo believes action needs to be taken.

"Anything we can do, we should do," she said. "We won't get everything done, but as the vice president said, 'We can't let perfect be the enemy of good.'"

A Woodinville couple whose nephew died at Sandy Hook Elementary is also trying to make a difference. The uncle is a lawyer and has drafted some gun safety laws that he hopes to share in a meeting with Vice President Joe Biden.