In an opinion piece published in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Francine Wheeler, one of the parents who lost a child in 2012’s mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, urges Pennsylvania to expand background checks for all firearm purchases.

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Wheeler, who agreed to testify before the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee on the issue, was raised in Bucks County, but that’s not why she supports expanded background checks in Pennsylvania.

“For me, protecting other families from having to suffer the pain my family has suffered is not a choice; it’s a necessity,” she says.

“In Pennsylvania today, a convicted felon, who is prohibited from owning an assault rifle like the one that killed my son, can buy a rifle from a private seller or go online and, with a few clicks, do the same thing, no questions asked.

The bill I testified in favor of was just common sense. It would close the loophole that allows criminals and the severely mentally ill to purchase a long gun in a private sale. If you have a criminal record, you couldn’t buy a long gun at a gun store. This bill would just extend that law to private and Internet sales.”

Wheeler ends her piece with a practical appeal.

“We must take at least the basic step to ensure that the person turned away from the licensed firearms dealer can’t just turn to the Internet or a private seller instead. An overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians, gun owners and non-gun owners alike, agree it’s the right thing to do.”