Gun Debate Continues in Western New York

February 13, 2013 Updated Feb 13, 2013 at 2:57 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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February 13, 2013 Updated Feb 13, 2013 at 2:57 PM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW) - State lawmakers are calling for sweeping changes to New York's gun law and their beginning that push right here in Buffalo. They want to focus on dealing with mentally ill people. They are focusing on a local man who was killed by someone with mental health issues.

Christopher Verel was fishing on Seaway Pier off Fuhrman Boulevard when he was shot by Vlade Velotieff. As police investigated further, they learned the suspect had mental health issues, which caused his violent behavior. Now, part of the road is named after Verel and lawmakers are using his story as an example of what they call a broken states system regarding mental health.

The recently passed Safety Act in New York State said that assault style weapons will be restricted and patients suffering from mental health issues will now have their guns taken away. Many lawmakers said that is not enough. They said more emphasis should be put on the mental health aspect of the issue.

"With he exception of the one on mental health it is not going to do one darn thing to prevent mass murders by criminals and crazy people," Chairman of the Shooters Committee on Political Budd Schroder said.

The goal of the forum is to discuss the mental health issue with the public, as the concern grows about safety not only in the local community but also in schools. That forum will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. at the Mahoney Building on Court Street. The meeting is open to the public.