BATON ROUGE, LA (FOX44) — For Richard Haymaker the sting of losing 16 year old Yoshi Hattori, the family’s exchange student, for to gun violence is as fresh as when it happened 20 years ago. His son, only 16 at the time, saw the whole thing.
"A loving father, I mean what can you say? I mean it's with me everyday. The whole experience of everybody involved. And he (my son) first-hand saw it. Witnessed it," Haymaker said.
Haymaker and others in Baton Rouge have contributed their signatures to a letter asking their senators to push for universal background checks on guns.
"Universal background checks have nothing to do with the second amendment and the right to bear arms. I think that those are two separate issues," Freddie Pitcher of the Southern University Law Center explained.
"This will not be complicated, it's been done in other states. We just want to make sure guns don't go to criminals and this is the easiest, best first steps to do that," added Holley Haymaker.
The universal background checks would close federal loopholes and mean extensive searches on everyone buying a gun. The Baton Rouge group hopes that by raising their voices their lawmakers will take notice.
"I am hopeful that some day, some staunch people like that will wake up and see that they are wrong," said Richard Haymaker.
Congress will start debating gun control laws this month.