WASHINGTON D.C. -- A Hood River teen wowed lawmakers on Capitol Hill Wednesday during a hearing with Senate Democratic leadership about preventing gun violence.
Eva Jones, 16, testified about what it was like to be a student afraid that their school could be targeted next by a shooter. Jones urged senators to pass tougher gun violence prevention laws to make schools safer.
“School-wide murder has been so normalized, we approach them like fire drills,” testified Jones. “This makes me sick.”
Jones is a sophomore at Hood River Valley High School. She said her path to Washington D.C. began in February, at Sen. Ron Wyden's town hall meeting in Odell.
“I was coming home from a ski race and I knew there was a town hall so I was like, ‘Ok, I gotta go,” Jones told KGW from her hotel room in D.C.
That enthusiasm, and what she shared at the town hall, inspired Wyden to invite her to Washington.
“She essentially said, ‘We students have had it,’” said Wyden, while introducing Jones. “She said, ‘We are tired of trying to find cabinets we could fit into in order to hide.’”
Jones pulled no punches during her testimony.
“Security is not the issue, so do not put this on our tireless teachers or school administrators,” said Jones. “It is not a complex issue. We need gun legislation to increase background checks, close all loopholes, raise the gun ownership age and ban all assault weapons.”
Besides Jones, lawmakers heard testimony from people whose children and loved ones were killed in recent mass shootings.
“I was really nervous,” Jones told KGW. “It's such an important issue and I really didn't want to mess up or misrepresent anyone I was talking for.”
Jones knows she's just one teenager. But she wants those in power to know there are more out there like her. A lot more.
“We are sick of living like this so I assure you, we will be relentless,” testified Jones. “We won't stop marching. We will keep fighting weapons and those who protect them over us. We will vote soon and we won't stop until something changes.”
Many students from all over the country are planning to walk out of school on Wednesday March 14, as a demonstration against gun violence and school shootings. Jones said she plans to be among them.