I never even considered myself a survivor of gun violence until I attended a Moms Demand Action meeting. The speaker talked about different kinds of survivors, one of which included those who had a loved one who had committed suicide. I called police to do a welfare check on my dad in February 2012. And while they were there, he took his own life. Although I wasn’t present when my dad shot himself, I was there for many years of seeing him abuse my mom, lay his guns out on the table in a drunken stupor or threaten to shoot my mom. He was never violent towards me or my siblings, but I witnessed his abuse of my mother much too often.
My dad was a felon and mentally unstable most of his life and should have never been allowed to own a gun. If strong red flag laws and background checks for the sale of all guns had been in place seven years ago, maybe my dad would be here today. Maybe he would’ve been able to get the help he needed for his mental health, and I wouldn’t be able to call myself a survivor of gun violence.