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Moms Demand Action visits Mount St. Mary's to discuss gun violence

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By Allen Etzler | February 20, 2018

Moms Demand Action audience

Aryana McLeod walked into the Marion Burk Knott Auditorium on Monday night unsure of what she was about to hear.

“I didn’t even know what this talk was supposed to be about,” McLeod said.

By the end of the night, she had signed up to join Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

“I appreciate that they were willing to come talk about this issue with us students,” McLeod said. “And we’ve seen how big of a problem this is, so I’m excited to sign up and see how I can help.”

Members of the gun legislation reform group visited Mount St. Mary’s University on Monday night as part of a talk hosted by the Criminal Justice Student Association. The talk is one of several the group is hosting throughout the school year designed to highlight major national issues.

While the program had been planned for months, the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which resulted in 17 people being killed, thrust the program into a brighter spotlight. The program had to be moved to the auditorium to accommodate a larger turnout.

“We went from anticipating maybe 20 or 30 people to 120 people signing up for it,” said senior Rachael Tubbs, who is the program manager for CJ Talks, of which this program was a part. “I think that shows just how much people are talking about this issue right now.”

Bridget McCullough, state campaign leader for Moms Demand Action, spoke to the audience about the organization’s formation, and work to effect change at the state and federal levels. McCullough gave a presentation outlining the number of deaths in the United States as a result of gun violence.

“There’s no reason the United States should be a gold-medal winner when it comes to gun violence,” McCullough said.

McCullough praised Maryland’s gun legislation package that passed in 2013, but lamented the federal government’s lack of change in response to shooting events dating back to Sandy Hook in 2012.

Despite being the program manager for the talks, Tubbs said she didn’t have a particular interest in the gun legislation aspect of the discussion. Tubbs is aware of the shootings and pays attention to them, but as a psychology major, her interest is more on the mental health side of the issue.

“A lot of times when I hear about these events, that’s the perspective I view them from,” Tubbs said. “But I liked hearing about their perspective and their work to try to stop these tragedies. It’s nice to hear from different viewpoints.”

McLeod, who grew up in Upper Marlboro, said she was moved by the group’s work because she saw firsthand growing up the damage that gun violence can do.

“It’s hard seeing so many people die from this, and I feel like we have to do something about it, and get involved,” she said.

Photo by Andrew McDonald.

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