The Associated Press

‘Gun Violence is An Epidemic': MSD Survivor Testifies on Capitol Hill

Fighting back tears, but also defiant, Parkland shooting survivor Aalayah Eastmond testified on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee that tough legislation is needed to prevent gun violence.

"I hid under his lifeless body as bullets riddled my classmates," Eastmond recalled the shooting that happened nearly one year ago at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. "I thought I was going to die – as I lay there, I begged God to please make it fast."

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee said Wednesday they will push for "sensible" gun safety laws that the public is demanding after a series of mass shootings in recent years, including the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting that killed 17 people.

Advocates say Wednesday's hearing on gun violence was the first wide-ranging attempt to strengthen gun control laws in at least eight years.

For the past year, Eastmond has become an activist fighting for gun control not only for Parkland but for the entire country.

She advocated before the committee for mandatory background checks on any gun transaction, greater latitude for victims to sue gun makers and to have the assault weapons ban reinstated. 

"Gun violence is such an epidemic, that anyone, anywhere, at any time can be affected, " Eastmond said. "Rich or poor, black or white, young or old -- all Americans are at-risk and this is a side of America that none of us can or should take pride in."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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