Amanda Wilcox to tell committee how extreme risk laws could have saved her daughter’s life
Washington, D.C., March 25, 2019 — Tomorrow, Amanda Wilcox, Legislative Chair of Brady’s California Chapters, will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the importance of federal extreme risk laws. Amanda’s daughter, Laura, was shot and killed 18 years ago in a shooting spree. The shooter was a person in crisis who could have had his access to guns removed if an Extreme Risk Protection Order law existed in California at that time. Amanda joins a long line of Brady experts in testifying on Capitol Hill, following Las Vegas Route 91 survivor Heather Gooze, Parkland shooting survivor Aalayah Eastmond, and trauma surgeon and @ThisIsOurLane founder Dr. Joseph Sakran.
Laura Wilcox was a 19-year-old college student who was volunteering at the County Behavioral Health Clinic when a man opened fire, shooting Laura four times and killing her instantaneously. When the spree was over, three people were dead and three more were severely injured. The shooter’s family and girlfriend, as well as a caseworker, all had serious concerns about his access to guns due to his paranoia and severe delusions, but because he had never been placed under a psychiatric hold, he was not banned from obtaining or owning guns. Had an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law been in place at the time, Laura may very well be alive today.
Following Laura’s murder, Amanda has played a leading role in passing more than 55 statewide firearm safety bills that have made California a nationwide leader on gun safety. Among those is the state’s extreme risk law, also known in California as a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO). The bill, which went into effect in 2016, made California the first state to allow a family member or intimate partner to directly petition the court to prevent an at-risk individual from purchasing firearms.
More information on Amanda and Laura’s story can be found here.
The hearing will take place in Dirkson Senate Office Building 226 on Tuesday, March 26, beginning at 10am. Live video of the hearing will be available here.
Passing extreme risk laws at the state and federal level has been a major legislative priority for Brady in the wake of last year’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. The policy was named as part of Brady’s Three Point Plan alongside expanded background checks and banning assault weapons, and was listed as a key priority for the 116th Congress.
A poll released by AP-NORC in March 2019 found that 82 percent of Americans - including 68 percent of gun owners - support “allowing courts to prevent people who are considered a danger to themselves or others, but have not been convicted of a crime, from owning a gun.” That same poll found that 67 percent of all Americans feel that gun laws should be stricter in the country.
- Help prevent a person in crisis from harming themselves or others by temporarily removing guns and prohibiting the purchase of firearms;
- Empower members of the community to prevent gun violence without threatening an individual’s Second Amendment rights;
- Allow a judge to consider patterns or recent threats and acts of violence, dangerous past behavior with guns, substance abuse, and recent firearms or ammunition acquisition;
- Are designed to be temporary, with additional evidence required to extend the order;
- Use a civil process like other protective orders and does not create a new path for criminality; and
- Are currently in effect in 14 states and Washington, DC.
Ahead of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Brady is releasing the following resources:
- What Are Extreme Risk Laws
- Extreme Risk Laws: Myths vs. Facts
- Extreme Risk Protection Order Act of 2019 (H.R. 1236 and S. 506)
Brady leaders and survivors have a strong history of testifying on Capitol Hill in favor of gun violence prevention. Testimony includes:
- Route 91 shooting survivor and Brady Nevada chapter leader Heather Gooze on the need to ban bump stocks in December 2017;
- Parkland shooting survivor and Team ENOUGH executive council member Aalayah Eastmond against the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in September 2018;
- Eastmond during the first gun violence prevention hearing in the House of Representatives in 20 years in February 2019; and
- Brady board member, trauma surgeon, gun violence survivor, and founder of the national @ThisIsOurLane movement Dr. Joseph Sakran at the House’s gun violence prevention hearing in February 2019
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.