Exclusive: 'A dangerous loophole.' Parents of slain Wall teen advocate for gun law proposal in Tennessee
The parents of Jillian Ludwig exclusively tell News 12 New Jersey they are advocating for a bill in the Tennessee Legislature that would keep guns out of the hands of criminals who are deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial.
Ludwig, an 18-year-old freshman at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee was struck by a stray bullet on Nov. 7 while out on a walk near campus. She died the next day.
The suspect, Shaquille Taylor, 29, faces charges of aggravated assault and evidence tampering. Nashville police say Taylor admitted during an interview with detectives at police headquarters that he fired the shots. He claimed to have given the gun involved to another person.
Taylor had previously been by released by police after being deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial for a previous shooting.
Jillian's Law would close what her parents, Jessica and Matt, and others say is a loophole by expanding the definition of "adjudication as a mental defective." As part of the law, those deemed mentally incompetent would be prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm.
MORE: Wake held for Wall woman killed by stray bullet while walking near her Tennessee college campus
"It's a really dangerous loophole. Our daughter was the victim of a senseless violent crime. You know that man should not have been out on the streets, and he was released due to being mentally incompetent and we know the rest. But that loophole exists in other states as well. It actually exists in New Jersey," says Jessica Ludwig.
The next step for the bill is the House Finance Committee.
Jessica and Matt plan to spread awareness about the law once it is passed and reach out to other states, so the law becomes standard. They plan to work with their representatives in New Jersey soon.
The couple has started the Rae of Light Foundation to honor their daughter, a talented musician who was known for her love of music. Its goal is to raise money for underprivileged music students who cannot afford instruments or music education. They also plan to give away scholarships.
The foundation will also be holding a benefit concert in July.