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Jacksonville mother whose son died in shooting drives to Tallahassee to push for tougher gun laws

Tonya Love lost her 17-year-old son to a shooting in 2014.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The flashing lights, the police tape and the middle of the night phone call -- it's become a reality for many First Coast families and that call, unfortunately, came to Tonya Love's phone in October 2014.

"It's hard for me to sit here and say I wasn't the perfect mother," she said. "It's hard for me to sit here and say I failed my son because I feel like I did."

Her 17-year-old son Prosper Johnson was shot and killed five days before his 18th birthday. Upset by what she says was a senseless killing, Love is on a mission to prevent other parents from burying their children.

"The only thing I know is to lay my life down and just keep fighting for him," she told First Coast News.

Love, along with other First Coast parents who are part of the grassroots movement of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America, is heading to Tallahassee Thursday to urge lawmakers to strengthen the state's background checks for gun purchases and to hold sellers accountable for who they are selling to.

"It's sad that we are able to go into private gun shows and be able to buy guns without doing background checks and that children are able to get guns so easily on the streets," she said. "That needs to change." 

Love created a music video and wrote a book of her experience losing her youngest child and speaks to school children about their life choices.

It's something she says she never expected would happen to her and knows if nothing changes other families will get that dreaded phone call.

"When he died, it felt like my life had died with him," Love said, "so in order to keep my son's legacy alive, I felt like my son was now in me."

For more information on Thursday's rally in Tallahassee, click here.

For more information on SB 7028, click here.

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