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'It explodes the wound all over again' | Uvalde shooting elicits memories of 1989 Stockton school shooting

Judy Weldon was a second grade teacher in 1989 when five kids were shot and killed at Cleveland Elementary School.

STOCKTON, Calif — When news broke of a mass shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas, it was all too familiar for Judy Weldon. 

"My mind instantly went to grief, and tears began to flow right away," Weldon said.

Weldon was a second grade teacher in 1989 when five kids, ages six to nine, were shot and killed at Cleveland Elementary school. 32 others were hurt by gunman Patrick Purdy, who shot them with a semi-automatic rifle.

"Every time a shooting like this happens, it brings us back. It doesn't just prick the wound; it explodes the wound all over again," Weldon said.

10 years ago, Weldon, fellow teachers and staff formed Cleveland School Remembers. It began as a support group, but eventually became a non-profit aimed at reducing gun violence.

Reverend Becky Cameron, a former hospital chaplain, leads the group's legislative efforts to keep guns out of the hands of those who want to cause harm.

"Firearms are now the leading cause of death for children and teens in this country. Think about that - the leading cause of death. When I was a child, that was car accidents or falling out of a tree you climbed too high in," Cameron said.

In California, you can be 18 and purchase a semi-automatic assault weapon, just like in Texas.

However, federal legislation called "Act 21" would raise the minimum age to 21 in the U.S. The bill is sponsored by San Francisco Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein.

The legislation was introduced three years ago, and nothing has changed. If it does pass, it would be law for all 50 states.

"We got to get the guns out of the hands of people that shouldn't have them," Cameron said.

Cameron points out that, since the beginning of the year, there have been over 200 "mass shootings" in the U.S.

According to the non-profit, independent data collection and research group, Gun Violence Archive, there have been 213 mass shootings this year. The group categorizes a "mass shooting" as a "minimum of four victims shot, either injured or killed, not including any shooter."

What Weldon and her group want are universal background checks, a ban on assault weapons and ghost guns, and a "day of action."

"Personally, I would like parents who could afford to keep their kids out of school one day a month to do it, and say until you pass legislation, until you get this across, then we're going to keep boycotting school," Weldon said.

As far as arming teachers with guns, Weldon says "absolutely not." She said teachers don't need the added responsibility and "so many variables could lead to fatal accidents."


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