The family of a teenager shot while riding his bike worries about some of President Barack Obama's gun control proposals, saying "guns really don't kill people."
With his son Aaron, Sam Willis watched President Barack Obama deliver his gun control proposals Wednesday from Jackson's Rehabilitation Hospital.
Aaron Willis, 15, is recovering after a bullet hit him in the back while he was riding his bike in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood on Dec. 19th.
Investigators believe the shooter had mistaken Willis for someone else. Doctors have told the teenager he will likely never walk again.
Aaron's father said he hasn't left his son's side since the shooting.
"This has been one continuous gloomy day since December 19th until right now. I lost track of time. I lost track of everything. My priorities have been to be by his side. I promised him on the 19th when I saw him that, 'Every time you open your eyes boy, I'll be there for you,'" said Willis.
Willis said he likes the idea of mandatory criminal background checks for all gun sales.
"That should automatically be so, because not stepping on any amendments or anything, it's just common sense," he said.
But his reaction to the president's proposal to ban assault weapons and restore a 10-round limit on ammunition magazines was not as supportive.
"Guns really don't kill people. People kill people with guns, and you can legislate all the laws that you want, but you can not legislate morality, and with that segment of our population that is going to do these devious deeds. How are you going to stop that?" said Willis.
Rather than arguing over what weapons to ban, Willis said he believes the focus should be on investing in people. He likes the idea, for example, of exploring mental health resources.
However, Willis said he believes the power to curb gun violence rests with parents, and so directed his message at them.
"I'm a true believer that kids don't fail. Parents fail kids and when parents fail kids, everything goes into chaos," said Willis.
The father believes it's up to families and others in the community to explain to youths the damage guns can do. He said it's their responsibility to impart the value of life to the nation's youth.
"Every one child, every one person that don't get hurt or killed by a weapon is worth the effort because no one really understands what we go through, with our child or our family member laid up or dead, no one really understands that," said Willis.
Local 10's Christina Vazquez asked Willis if he had any thoughts on people who don't want to see any new gun control legislation to include mandatory criminal background checks for all gun sales.
"It's awfully negligent of them," said Willis. "They are only in it for their own purposes, what benefits them, whether it be their feelings of power because of the weapons that they own, whether it be for the profits, or whether it be the pseudo-stepping on the amendments argument. There's too much damage being done with guns. The damage it has done, it's not just to that one person, but to the parents of that person, to the aunts and uncles of that person, the nieces, the nephews. There's a big backlash on what one bullet can do."
Aaron said he'll hopefully be released as early as next week. Police are still looking for leads on the people who shot him.
Below are documents released by the White House details the President's announced gun policy.
- READ: Remarks by the President and Vice President on gun violence
- READ: Now Is the Time: The President's plan to protect our children and our communities by reducing gun violence
- READ: Engaging in Public Health Research on the Causes and Prevention of Gun Violence
- READ: Tracing of Firearms in Connection with Criminal Investigations
- READ: Improving Availability of Relevant Executive Branch Records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System