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Cheryl Brooks

In memory of my son

My life changed dramatically on February 15, 2014. The (Maryland) state police came banging at my door at 3 a.m., telling me that my oldest son, Michael Derek Baughan, 30 years old, had shot himself in the head and he did not survive. In hearing this devastating news, I fell to the floor. I wanted to die right then and there. My son actually died on Valentine’s Day.

My son had purchased a gun on June 13, 2013, from Walmart. He purchased that gun in 15 minutes. He wanted that gun to end his life, but at that time he called me for help and I was there to plead with him to get help for his depression. On February 14, 2014, he didn’t call. I feel alone now because after something like this happens, people eventually go away. What did help was gun control advocacy: Being a part of Moms Demand Gun Sense has given me a purpose and goal.

I helped legislation get passed to enact The Extreme Risk Protection order, which passed in Maryland. I’m ready for 2019 to ensure there are background checks on all gun purchases. I would like to see more restrictions, like having to purchase a gun license and also having to buy gun insurance. I’ve been involved in the Be Smart program, and I will continue to fight to prevent any family from losing a loved one to senseless gun violence.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.