Josh Price

I was eight years old when I experienced gun violence. One Friday night, my mom, my five-year-old sister and I had fallen asleep while watching TV. My mom’s boyfriend came home drunk and angry. He kicked in the bedroom door. He had a revolver in his hand. I jumped up to protect my mom and little sister. He put me in a headlock and held the gun to my right temple. I still remember how cold the barrel was. I bit and scratched his forearm, but he was too strong. My mom begged him to let me go. My sister was crying hysterically.

He told my mom, “I will kill your son.” He pointed the gun at my baby sister and said, “I will kill your daughter.” Then he put the gun to his chin and said, “Then I will kill myself… but I will let you live so that you’ll always have the memory of seeing your children die in front of you.” This went on for hours. After awhile, he gestured, and the gun flew out of his hand. My mom grabbed it and hid it in the closet, and we ran out of the house.

Brandy

I grew up in a home with child abuse and gun violence. I was eight when my mother shot my father; she did it again after that. No one came to check on us four kids; no charges were made, even after the second time.

When I was 15, my mother put a gun to my stomach when a sheriff’s deputy drove up. As she had shot my father twice, I always believed she would have pulled the trigger. The state was South Carolina; there wasn’t help for kids caught up in gun violence then.

I’m in therapy now for this, as well as for the gun violence in childhood.

Zachary Daniel Mallory

When I was 17 years old, I met a guy on a dating app. We started having a really good conversation, and things turned out to be intimate. I knew I was gay at a very young age, and at this time, I had already gone through a lot of things like bullying and harassment because of my sexuality.

I finally came across someone who seemed like they understood me and was interested in me. One night, we were talking, and I told him a very dark secret of mine. He went on social media and told everyone my secret. I was furious. He asked if he could come meet me where I was staying, and I of course said yes.

When he arrived, I could tell that he was going to do something that would change my life. He forced me onto the bed, held a gun towards my forehead and told me that I would have to do what he told me to do. He assaulted me with his gun, and then he left. I never heard from him again.

Stephanie Colligan-Ishola

My family and I experienced a horrific event last year, in August 2020. My eldest son was returning from work one Friday evening, and, upon entering our home garage, he was ambushed by two gunmen wearing full face masks. The two gunmen entered the garage while my son drove his car inside, and they held him at gunpoint (one pointing a pistol, and the other pointing a shotgun). He was directed to leave the car running, and both gunmen followed him into the home.

The first gunman told him, “We have your family, so show us where your family keeps the money.”

My son responded, “I don’t know where my parents keep any money, but I have $1,000 in my car console.” He immediately blocked the shotgun with his hand and kicked the second gunman.

The gunman tumbled down the stairs, and my son yelled out, “Call 911! They have guns!” Both men fled the scene, one leaving a shoe behind in the struggle. My son is our hero, and we are truly blessed—no member of our family was harmed. We need justice from our local law enforcement agency to apprehend the two suspects.

Jennifer Langston

I am a survivor. I have been impacted by gun violence my entire life, but in 2006 and 2014, the gun violence found me in my home.

In 2006, two armed men broke into my house, held me hostage and injured my roommate by gun. I lost my sense of security in the world after this tragic incident, but I had no idea that I could lose even more from further gun violence.

In 2014, I again survived the unthinkable. My boyfriend, who was suffering from suicidal ideation, bought a gun without my knowledge. We had discussed not owning firearms because of his suicidal thoughts, but his struggle become too overwhelming. In the early hours of April 1, my boyfriend’s suicidal tendencies turned homicidal, and I became his target. He held me hostage and then shot me in the chest.

Gun violence is not something I get over; it is what I have learned to live with. The impact of gun violence is enormous, and I struggle every day to feel safe in a world plagued by gun violence. As a two-time survivor of gun violence, I share my story to bring awareness to the real impact of gun violence in our society.

Anonymous

I didn’t grow up with a stable mother-daughter relationship. My parents divorced when I was little, and I hardly knew my dad. My mother was in and out of my life from the time I was three until the age of 14. I did not know it at the time, but my mother has bipolar disorder and refused to take her medication, resulting in her being in a state of mania half the time. I deeply loved my mother, and I still do.

About four years ago, I saw my mother for the first time in about five or six years. I still didn’t understand her condition, and when she wanted to have a private talk with me, I obliged. Little did I know: She planned to shoot me, then herself. The fact that my mother could get access to a gun was disheartening. Thankfully, family members found us and calmed her down. I haven’t seen my mother since then, and I miss her every day.

Hollie Green

I was a teenager, growing up in a small town in Nevada County, Arkansas. I got pregnant and was pressured into marrying the guy because his family are evangelical Christians. Being 17 at the time, I thought it was the right thing to do. I tried to get out of the marriage many times, due to all the domestic violence. I’d leave, and he would find me and drag me back, sometimes by the head of my hair. I got pregnant with the second kid two years later. I still tried to leave him and his large family. I wouldn’t convert to being a Christian, so I got lots of hate from the family; that made him mad at me. He told me the only way he would grant me divorce is if I cheated on him. He also said that if I cheated on him, he’d shoot me in the head. After suffering for nine years and begging to just let me and my two kids get out, I took another opportunity to escape. I’d had enough of his abuse by that time. He came home pissed, grabbed the 9mm and stuck it down my throat.

Andrea C.

In late April 2020, my son, age 23 now, was shot in his home. He had met a local young lady on Facebook. They’d exchanged conversations, and he invited her over to have drinks. She arrived solo, but a few minutes after being inside his home, she opened the door to a masked man. It was her boyfriend, who had driven her to my son’s house with the intention to rob him for the unemployment money that was on his bank card. But my son didn’t receive it, like most people in our state.

The young woman texted her boyfriend, who was outside waiting. He was asking, in text messages, if my son was armed. My son went into the kitchen, and the young woman opened the door to allow her boyfriend to enter the home. The man pistol-whipped my son. They fought and exchanged words. All for $100 in cash and a debit card with no cash on it. They shot him and left him. He crawled to his phone to call me.

Lisa Lowman

My daughter, Julia, and I were both 16 years old when we survived gun violence.

She was threatened online, and years earlier, I was the victim of an armed robbery. Before I became involved with Moms Demand Action, I never thought of myself or my daughter as gun violence survivors. I thought I had moved on from having my life threatened at gunpoint. But when Julia’s classmate posed with a gun on social media and named her as one of his targets, the fear came rushing back. I felt as terrified as I did 40 years ago—and just as helpless.

Julia and I have worked together to heal from our trauma. We’ve joined other survivors at Maryland Advocacy Day, urging state lawmakers to pass common-sense gun legislation. We’ve become passionate about gun sense candidates–working on local campaigns and passing out snacks to voters on Election Day.

We and other survivors belong to a club no one wants to join. But we are resilient and stronger together.

TMW

I had already survived a brain aneurysm, which was a life-changing moment. But years later, after leaving a vendor gig at “First Friday” in Las Vegas, while driving back home, I had a craving for candy corn. I made a left turn that would change my daughter and me forever.

I pulled into a new, well-lit gas station on Vegas Drive in Las Vegas. As I parked and got out of my Jeep, I heard a pop behind me. (I’m a New Yorker from Harlem, so I’m no stranger to gun violence.) As I turned to see where it came from, the second shot hit me in the neck.

It was March 8, 2020, at 12:30 a.m.—International Women’s Day. I was rushed to University Medical Center Hospital during a virus outbreak. With a limited number of doctors, a woman Army surgeon and her staff saved my life, days before the COVID-19 lockdown. This random act of gun violence traumatized my relationship with my daughter. Every moment in life is a gift—no matter what we attract, good or bad. I try to always lean into feeling good emotionally; it is the path of least resistance.