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Dozens of chalked outlined bodies at Romare Bearden Park serve as a reminder of the victims of Buffalo & Texas school shootings

"So many people died. They were murdered and it’s important that we don’t get disconnected from the reality of that."

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Families are shattered by violence and calls for stricter gun control laws intensify following the recent mass shootings this month. Two of the recent shootings took place only 10 days from one another.

In Buffalo, New York on May 14 in a racist hate crime, 10 people were killed.

On May 24, 21 people were killed. Two teachers and 19 children lost their lives in the tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

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"They were just kids that were just trying to go to school. So innocent and young. They had their whole lives ahead of them,” said Emmalee Tode, after letting out a sigh.

Tode was at a loss for words as she remembered the 21 people, mostly children killed in the horrific shooting. A tragedy she thought she wouldn’t have to face again.

“I was 10 years old when Sandy Hook happened and I thought about how awful it was,” she said “I thought something like this should never happen again.”

A social media post for a candlelight vigil drew the medical student to Romare Bearden Park where there are several reminders of the two mass shootings including this candlelight memorial and this trail of chalked outlined bodies.

People need to be reminded that this is a visceral thing,” Tode said “People died, so many people died. They were murdered and it’s important that we don’t get disconnected from the reality of that.“

In another corner, the words ‘blood-stained floors, bullets indoors, so much gore no one asked for’ were written on the ground.

Many people are longing for changes in gun safety laws.

North Carolina Senator Natasha Marcus said there are many lawmakers like her who are really fighting to improve current regulations. In fact, senate democrats are leading the charge in current negotiations taking place for gun control measures.

Marcus adds there should be a national assault weapons ban back in place.

In 1994, Congress banned assault weapons as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement act. There were exceptions for police and military for example. However, that law expired back in 2004 and was never renewed.

“We should have a national assault weapons ban like we used to have," said Marcus. "We should also put limits on the high capacity magazines so that nobody can go into a school with a weapon like this and shoot so many people so quickly.”

At a minimum, Marcus said the legal age limit to buy a gun should be raised.

In North Carolina, there isn’t a law that addresses a specific age requirement. It follows the federal law of 18 years old.

In both deadly shootings, the gunmen were 18 years old and legally purchased their weapons.

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“No one as young as 18 should have access to a killing machine as this 18-year-old did in Texas," said Marcus. "There are more things we can also do with universal background checks.”

The Texas shooting hits close to home for Marcus. Her friend has a family member who was wounded in the massacre.

“Her name is Mayah. She's 10. The shooter shot her in the hand that she was using to try to block the bullet and shot her again in the back after she fell. She's in the hospital right now," she said. "So, we're all pulling for her. I’ve never met her, but I love her and I hate that this happened to her."

She shared the family's gofundme page.

She admits stricter gun laws are an uphill battle.

“We need the political will to do it," she explained. "Unfortunately, too many politicians are on the side of the NRA, and they see any attempt to do anything to save lives as some sort of assault on freedom.”

 Meanwhile, vigils and moments of silence continue to take place as more lives are lost to gun violence.

“I worry about everybody's children, I worry about all of us. Honestly, it's not just children," said Marcus. "It's movie theaters and churches, and it's everywhere now. We see it over and over... way too often.”

 We can’t just let this be the way things are…business as usual and go on with our lives," expressed Tode. "We are hurting about this and something must change."

Credit: JP
Texas school shooting memorial at Romare Bearden Park

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