Mother of murdered teen, now a gun reform advocate, runs for US Congress

"Jordan didn't deserve to die that way," she told CNN.

Lucy McBath speaks during the 6th Annual New York Peace Week Press Conference at City Hall on January 15, 2016 in New York City.  CREDIT: Mike Pont/WireImage
Lucy McBath speaks during the 6th Annual New York Peace Week Press Conference at City Hall on January 15, 2016 in New York City. CREDIT: Mike Pont/WireImage

Lucy McBath, an activist for gun reform, is running in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for a U.S. House seat in Georgia’s 6th District. She is the mother of Jordan Davis, the black teenager who was shot in the back seat of a friend’s car by a 45 year-old white man who said the music they were playing was too loud.

During the 2012 confrontation, the man who shot Jordan, Michael Dunn, shouted, “Are you talking to me? You’re not going to talk to me that way.” Then he reached for his pistol and fired 10 shots into the car. The stand-your-ground law empowered him to shoot her son, many gun reform advocates say, because someone only has to have a “reasonable belief” that their life is in danger.

McBath testified against expanding the law in Florida and has been a fierce gun reform advocate over the years.

McBath told CNN that after the Parkland school shooting in February, when 17 people died, she reached out to Parkland families and carried on her lobbying for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense In America. Then she prayed and looked to God for guidance about what to do in the aftermath of the shooting. That week, she decided to run for office, according to a long profile about the activist published by CNN. 

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“For me I was looking beyond my own tragedy, looking for the other tragedies that were most definitely going to happen if I didn’t keep talking about this crisis,” she told CNN.

In a piece for Vanity Fair, McBath wrote that she’s also passionate about women’s access to health care, which she said is necessary for women’s economic and social advancement.

The political arm of Everytown for Gun Safety and The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, have endorsed McBath, who would run against first-term Representative Karen Handel (R). EMILY’s List also has endorsed McBath.

“The Democratic primary voters will be 60 percent women, 24 percent minorities, and I fit both demographics. The reality that I have lived is that I can speak to my neighbors about being a single mom, I can speak about women’s reproductive health, about health care,” she told The Nation.

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McBath is one of many people affected by gun violence who has became involved in political activism. Parkland students have spoken at rallies and events across the country to argue for gun reforms. The parents of two Parkland students who died in the shooting are running for the local school board.

In Philadelphia, students whose communities are impacted by gun violence are registering voters and working on campaigns to get policymakers’ attention. Students across the nation have protested through school walkouts, despite warnings that students would face disciplinary actions as a result. Sometimes advocates for changes in response to gun violence disagree on solutions or whose voices should be most prominent in the debate, but they have mobilized.