POLK CITY, Fla. (WTSP) -- A Polk City woman who lost her son in the Pulse nightclub shooting hopes the U.S. is at a turning point for gun control.

Christine Leinonen was featured in a panel discussion with CBS News Wednesday morning, along with five other victims of gun violence.

While some of the panelists disagreed with her, Leinonen has been calling for a ban on assault weapons since her son’s death.


“It's a living hell. My life is over,” she said in an interview with 10News after the CBS story aired. “I have a life sentence of grief. It's gone.”

Leinonen is a gun owner, but she argues assault weapons were made for war zones, not for the average person to use.

After seeing several mass shootings in the year and a half since the Pulse nightclub massacre, she sees the Parkland shooting as a turning point in the stalled gun control debate. Now that the students and other young people are speaking up, she's hopeful change is coming.


“Three thousand young people who are directly affected by a mass shooting, that had to either run from the school, hide in closets, get shot at, have their friends get shot and killed. That's a lot of people. That's a lot of momentum,” she said.

Leinonen started a nonprofit in her son's name called The Dru Project. Every year, the non-profit gives out a donation in his honor.

Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the 10 News app now.

Have a news tip? Email tips@wtsp.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed.