By Amanda Wilcox, Legislative Chair, Brady California
Over 30 years ago, I started making donations to Brady. I felt that I needed to do something to stop innocent victims from being shot every year.
Like so many others, I never thought that my life would be impacted by gun violence, but 18 years ago in 2001, my daughter, Laura, was killed in a mass shooting. The shooter’s family and girlfriend, as well as a caseworker, all had serious concerns about his access to guns due to strong warning signs. But because he had never been placed under a psychiatric hold, he wasn’t banned from obtaining or owning guns.
Yesterday, I testified before a senate panel on the need for extreme risk laws. Had an extreme risk law been in place 18 years ago, Laura might very well be with me today. After I testified, Sen. Lindsey Graham said he was walking away from the hearing "far more enlightened than I was before” — and that he saw a path forward for bipartisan legislation.
I’ve spent my life since then dedicated to working with Brady to pass stronger gun laws and prevent more tragedies. In my home state of California, I’ve advocated the state legislature to pass over 60 gun safety bills. We were the first state to allow family members or intimate partners to petition a court to prevent at-risk individuals from temporarily obtaining firearms. This law has saved lives.
Saving lives is not a partisan issue. As a mother whose daughter needlessly lost her life, I ask our lawmakers to support legislation for states to enact and implement extreme risk laws. Half of state laws currently in effect were signed by Republican governors, and these laws have been passed by both Democratic and Republican-controlled state houses. In red, blue, and purple states across the country, polling shows that these laws are wildly popular.
Making extreme risk laws available throughout the country will, without a doubt, prevent multiple forms of gun violence every day — those tragic cases where an individual takes their own life and the needless bloodshed when someone brings a gun into a place of learning, worship, or recreation.
In 2001, Laura was killed in an instant by four bullets. In the aftermath, I was overwhelmed by the permanence of her death. Laura was gone forever. That is why extreme risk laws resonate
with me; one can always give a gun back. I cannot get her life back. Please join me in taking action.