June 9, 2023 Blog · Photo Gallery

From One Motherless Daughter to Another

The pain of losing a parent is not something that gets easier. I heard those words bravely spoken by Jenna in the Oregon courthouse yesterday afternoon during the Measure 114 trial.Jenna Longenecker outside U.S. District Court in Portland

In court, Jenna stated, “I hope that by sharing my personal story today, I can help the court understand a little bit better about why this law was enacted in the first place.”



Gun violence is a preventable epidemic and one we can end, with your support.

Jenna Longenecker and I had never met prior to hearing her testimony. But the pain we both experience on a daily basis from the death of our mothers is close to indescribable.

There’s a bond to this grief. You wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But when you find someone who feels the level of sorrow that you feel, you can’t help but clutch on tight. 

Jenna was barely out of college, working her first full-time job when she heard the news that there had been a shooting at Clackamas Town Center in Oregon. She called her mom to make sure she was okay. She called her mom repeatedly over the course of that afternoon. She continued calling to check in. To look for her. 

That evening, officers told Jenna that her mother had been killed by an AR-15. Jenna kept saying, “Where’s my mom?” In that courtroom yesterday, my body went cold remembering how I’d said nearly the same words regarding my own mother’s death.

Except, I didn’t have to retrieve my mother’s car from the mall parking lot or decide if I wanted her name and photo released to the public. I didn’t have a similar horror story play out just years later with my father. 

Jenna was at work when she found out no one was able to get ahold of her dad. Hours later, the Sheriff’s Department asked to see her in person. She knew what that meant. Her father was dead. “The police only ask to see you in person when they want to deliver the news that someone has died or been killed.” 

Jenna’s father died by firearm suicide. He’d struggled with his mental health and the added precautions ensured by Measure 114 could have saved her father’s life. 

Measure 114, passed last year, establishes a universal licensing system that closes the Charleston Loophole and requires an enhanced background check and safety training for the purchase of all firearms. 

Jenna lost both of her parents to this senseless violence. And when speaking with her privately, we discussed how she isn’t unique. There are too many victims, too many survivors, most of whom stay quiet. The pain is all too much. 

No one else should ever feel or experience the horror Jenna has. Please, help us keep every Oregonian–and every American–safe from the devastating impacts of gun violence

I hope you never have to experience the pain Jenna lives with every single day. The pain I live with. Her children will never meet their grandparents. Jenna can’t call her mom and ask for advice on her current pregnancy.

You never stop needing your mom and dad. No matter how old you get, you will always be their child. 

Show up to this fight today in honor of Jenna.

In honor of every single one of us who can no longer feel safe going to the mall, movie theater, church, school, bank, grocery store, club, or concert because of the threat of gun violence.

We need you. We cannot put an end to gun violence alone. 

— Victoria Muzyk is Communications Director at the Alliance.