People in the Bay area and across the country are rallying this weekend to end gun violence. They’re coming together to Wear Orange for National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
Expanding gun rights became a hot topic this past legislative session with more than a dozen bills up for debate, some wanting to allow concealed weapons permit holders to carry in airports, legislative meetings and on college campuses.
10News talks with two mothers, one whose son’s been hurt and the other helped by a gun.
“That's all I wanted was my family and someone stole that from me,” says mother Andrea Pickett.
Pickett lost her only son, Tysaiah Donaldson.
“Too young, 19,” says Pickett. She says someone, who the 19-year-old thought was a friend, lured him from a home so a group could rob him. He was shot and killed in front of his fiance'.
“To lose my son because someone shoots him, gun violence robbed him when he had everything. He graduated high school and was one month away from graduating college as an electrician. Everyone was looking up to him. We have enough hate in this world that we just need to start loving,” says Pickett.
Pickett is joining up with other mothers who've had to bury their kids, Circle of Mothers, speaking up to end gun violence.
“I don't feel getting guns in more people’s hands will solve it. The stuff that's happening in the world today, a lot of people do not know how to deal with stress the right way, so they’ll be quick to grab a weapon,” says Pickett.
“He kicked the door in and was thumping his way on up the landing,” says a Tampa mother. She still fears for her safety as and asked 10News not to identify her. She's grateful her son had a gun, fearing for his life, when a burglar broke into their home.
“He said to the guy, ‘What the hell you doing in here?’ The guy looked up at him and that's when my son started shooting. Thank God I’m alive. Thank God he's alive,” says the mother.
The burglar died in the kitchen. “I do think folks should have a right to protect themselves, that I do believe,” the woman says.
But at what cost? Both mothers see the other's perspective and don't want guns in the wrong hands.
“My grandchildren might find it and pull it out of a place I might think is a secret place,” says the Tampa mother.
“Do I want to get a weapon? Okay, if I do, now do I chance someone breaking in and taking that same weapon? I see the kids in the street that hug and hold me, and I feel so bad, because some of them are not even going to make it, and that's what this world has given. Some of them are not even going to make it. It's just sad. It's really sad,” says Pickett.
Wear Orange started in honor of 15-year-old Haydiya Pendleton. The Chicago girl was innocently killed by gang gunfire. Pendleton would have been 20 this past Friday, June 2nd, National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
Most gun-related bills didn't make it through the legislature this year. Lawmakers did change Florida's controversial stand your ground law. It now puts the burden on prosecutors to prove the shooter didn't act in self-defense.