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JSU Student Killed In Campus Shooting While Trying to Stop Fight, Prompting Calls For Gun Reforms

Mississippi gun violence prevention advocates are calling on lawmakers to act days after the shooting death of Jackson State University student Jaylen Burns, a Chicago native who majored in industrial technology. He was shot on Oct. 15 while trying to break up a fight at an on-campus apartment complex, said his father, Jason Burns.

Burns’ death at Jackson State comes weeks after a shooting on the campus of Morgan State University in Baltimore, Md., left several people injured. Activists from Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action say the failure of politicians to reform gun laws makes students feel unsafe on campuses and in the classroom.

Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action organizers said in an Oct. 17, 2023, press release that lax gun laws in Mississippi contribute to students feeling unsafe on campuses and in classrooms. They are calling for gun law reforms after Jaylen Burns’ killing at JSU. Photo courtesy Moms Demand Action

“We’re being forced to normalize learning in constant fear of gunfire ringing out in—and outside of—our classrooms, but the truth is, this isn’t normal. When shootings happen we need more than ‘thoughts and prayers.’ We need action to keep us safe,” said Valencia Green of Students Demand Action in a press release on Oct. 17.

The Jackson Police Department and Capitol Police are looking for a person of interest in the shooting, but the alleged shooter has not been identified, WLBT reported.

Reeves: ‘The Second Amendment Is Here To Stay’

Mississippi does not require a person to obtain a permit before carrying concealed handguns in public, meaning someone can get a gun and carry it concealed in public without ever passing a criminal background check or taking firearm training, Everytown for Gun Safety’s website notes.

Earlier this year, the same week that students and teachers at Warren Central High School were leaving class to protest gun violence, Gov. Tate Reeves signed House Bill 1110 into law, blocking the creation of gun registries and efforts to track financial transactions related to the purchase of firearms.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed House Bill 1110 into law

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