Jenna Yuille lost both of her parents to separate instances of gun violence—now, she’s fighting to pass laws that could've saved them.
“Here in America, the odds of getting shot or killed from a gun are extremely high,” she said. “I never thought that this was an issue that I would be involved in or care so much about. And that all changed on December 11th, 2012, when my mom Cindy Yuille was shot and killed in a mall shooting.”
Four years later, after the tragedy that happened in Oregon, gun violence shook Yuille’s life again.
“I knew that suicides were the leading cause of gun deaths in America. But again, it was never something that I had been personally impacted by,” she said. “That all changed when my dad took his own life with a gun just a couple of years ago, and all of a sudden I now found myself becoming an advocate.”
Around the time Yuille’s father took his own life, a new type of gun law referred to as Extreme Risk Protection Order was starting to be championed around the country. 15 states have ERPO laws, also known as “red flag” laws, as of 2019. The idea behind the law is to give families and loved ones and law enforcement a tool that they can use to temporarily remove guns from someone who is in a crisis, or might be a danger to themselves or others.
Approximately half of those who commit mass shootings show warning signs that they are a threat to themselves or others and 2/3 of all gun deaths are suicides. Yuille became a gun reform advocate and helped change Oregon’s law to help accommodate those cases.
“It’s important for people to remember that gun violence can happen to anyone, and it does,” she said. “Gun violence is a complicated issue. There is no one thing that’s going to solve every part of it. But there is so much more that we can do to prevent gun violence.”