I was forced to become acutely aware of how dangerous guns are in the hands of a domestic abuser, and how easy it is for a convicted abuser or criminal to legally get their hands on a gun. I was forced to learn there were loopholes that paved the way for my loved one’s murderer to legally get a gun, even though he was a convicted criminal. It never occurred to me such options existed for someone who should never have easy and legal access to get one, because the concept was – and still is, irresponsible.
Today I carry the frustration of knowing those same loopholes still exist 31 years after my family’s nightmare – and around 60 women, children, siblings, parents, neighbors, co-workers and first responders are shot to death every month by a domestic abuser because of those loopholes. My entire gun-owning family didn’t know this reality existed. We also bought into the idea that we will always be able to protect our family or ourselves. Today, I fully understand that no one can be two places at one time in order to be able to protect our loved ones, and if someone is intent on harming you, they are 10 steps ahead, and you don’t even have time to draw your weapon.
Through my own family’s experience and the countless experiences of so many others I have met over the years, we were forced to come to the understanding that prevention begins at the point of sale, and we know the value of common-sense gun laws.
My life is much different now, as I use every opportunity to promote safe storage and common sense to help save lives, because I never want anyone else to ever know the hell of gun violence.