February 14, 2023 Blog

A Mother Reflects Five Years After Parkland

Carmen was the kind of daughter a mom can’t help but be proud of. She was brilliant, caring, beautiful, funny, and musically talented. She dreamt of going to prom, going to college, becoming a medical researcher, and having a family of her own. 

But Carmen never got to realize her dreams. She was shot four times as she tried to hide in her AP Psychology class at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She was just 16 years old. 

That was five years ago today. Five years ago, on Valentine’s Day 2018, a former student, armed with an assault weapon and more than 300 rounds of ammunition, killed Carmen and 16 others and wounded 17 more people. 

That day changed my life forever. And I know I’m not alone in that. In the aftermath of Carmen’s shooting, her classmates, along with our family and the families of other victims, stood up to demand change, sparking a movement that changed the country forever. That inspired countless people, maybe even some of you, to get off the sidelines and into this fight to end gun violence.  

I joined the gun violence prevention movement and the board of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility to do my part to make sure that no one else has to experience the heartbreak that I live with every single day. I am so proud of the progress that we have made. In Washington, we have restricted high-capacity magazines like the ones Carmen’s shooter used, kept guns away from people intent on causing harm, and closed deadly loopholes. 

But our work is far from over. We must build on the progress we’ve made to save lives by prohibiting assault rifles once and for all and enacting other evidence-based safeguards to prevent gun violence in all its forms.  

I know that no single gun safety policy will bring Carmen back–no single policy alone will end the gun violence epidemic. But I also know that there is more that we can and must do. I hope you’ll join me today in recommitting to this fight for our lives.

— April Schentrup is a Board Member of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility.