October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Read and share stories to honor survivors whose lives have been changed by domestic violence.

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David Nielsen

On Labor Day 1990, my 17-year-old son, Sean, took his life with a .22-caliber rifle. He had been seeing a counselor and signed a non suicide pact. He kept his word, as the pact had expired two weeks before he died. My wife and Sean’s mother discussed firearms when he was an infant. I always had great respect for all firearms but chose not to own any. Sean was not allowed to play with toy guns. We told him that when he was old enough, we would get him a gun and train him in its safe operation. If a friend wanted play with a toy gun, he would simply say, “I don’t play with guns; they aren’t toys.” My wife and I divorced when he was 7. She and her husband bought Sean a .22 rifle on his 15th birthday. He attended firearm safety classes. We thought we did everything right.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.