‘Infuriating': Md. Mother Who Lost Daughter in School Shooting Urges Passage of Gun Law

"Jaelynn's Law" would make it tougher for teens to access guns from Maryland homes

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A Maryland mother who knows the pain of losing a child in a school shooting spoke to News4 about that anguish and her ongoing efforts to try to prevent similar attacks at schools.

Melissa Willey said every day she thinks about her daughter, Jaelynn Willey, and how she was killed at her own school.

An ex-boyfriend shot and killed Jaelynn at Great Mills High School in St. Mary's County in March of 2018.

She said she still fears it could happen to another one of her children.

"It’s hard to even bring them to school and think what if they don’t come home today? That’s my reality as well as all these other families now," Melissa Willey said.

The school shooting that took the lives of 19 children and two teachers in Texas on Tuesday is a reminder to Melissa of what happened to her family.

"It makes me angry and it makes me sad for those families, and for my kids that see this all the time," she said.

Willey has pushed for Maryland lawmakers to pass "Jaelynn’s Law," a safe storage law that would make it harder for teenagers to access guns in Maryland homes. But the law didn’t pass the General Assembly this year.

"It’s frustrating. It's infuriating that you can’t get it done," Willey said.

Willey said she does the work, including this interview with News4, in the hopes that more people will get involved.

It’s something she says is always in the back of her mind.

"It doesn’t matter if it's going to school, when we go to Walmart. I mean, you have to look and make sure there's exits or where I could hide," she said.

Her son Nolen will soon graduate from Great Mills. He was in the 8th grade when his sister was killed, and he also supports tougher guns laws.

"They need to be passed because nothing has really been passed and same stuff is happening," he said.

Moms Demand Action also advocated for Jaelynn’s Law, and has pushed for federal gun legislation such as universal background checks.

"There’s a gun violence crisis. There's a mental health crisis. But other countries are having a mental health too, but they're not seeing this gun violence because they have regulations around guns," a spokesperson for Moms Demand Action told News4.

Willey says she also struggles to find answers, but she knows if nothing is done, shootings will keep happening.

"Something has got to change. Something," she said.

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