Mother of student killed in Freeman shooting travels to Olympia to speak in support of assault weapons bill

Amy Strahan speaks in front of the Senate about SB 6077
Amy Strahan speaks in front of the Senate about SB 6077. Credict: TVW

OLYMPIA, Wash. — “I never got to say goodbye to him, nor did I get to tell him proud I was of him,” Ami Strahan said holding back tears.

Strahan traveled to Olympia this week to speak in support of Senate Bill 6077.

The bill was recently introduced and, if passed, would prohibit Washingtonians from manufacturing, possessing, selling or purchasing large capacity magazines.

Strahan spoke in support of the bill because gun violence has impacted her directly. Her son Sam was killed during a shooting at Freeman High School in 2017. Caleb Sharpe admitted to bringing a handgun and an AR-15 to school. He turned to his handgun when the rifle jammed.

“The shooter went to school that day armed with more than 400 rounds. And he had a plan to unleash bullets out of an assault rifle into a busy hallway at a busy time in the morning,” Strahan said. “The only reason my son was the only loss that day was because the assault rifle jammed.”

Sam was 15 years old when he was killed. Three of his female classmates were also wounded in the shooting.

“Fortunately, Sam was the only loss of life. While I find myself saying ‘thank goodness’ he was the only one, I also can’t fathom that that sentence has become acceptable in 2020,” Strahan said in front of the committee. “When did it become okay that one student died at school?”

If passed, the bill would define large-capacity magazines as weapons that can hold more than ten rounds of ammunition.

“I am here because I am a grieving mother. My son was 15 years old. This is his senior year. I lost part of my soul and I’m still struggling to recover,” Strahan said. “And I’m quickly – unfortunately – becoming part of a larger group of people who have lost ones due to gun violence. Assault rifles were designed for fighting wars. They were not designed to be used by a common citizen.”

Those already in possession of large-capacity magazines before the bill’s passing would be excluded from the restrictions, as well as members of law enforcement.

“I implore you to support Senate Bill 6077 – if you have children of your own, if you have grandchildren, nieces, nephews or anyone you would be lost without, you have the opportunity to do something,” Strahan said. “I can share my story. You can create change.”

Read more about the bill here.