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My name is Ruth, and I am a survivor of gun violence and suicide.

When I was 17 years old, I was in a dating relationship with a 16-year-old boy. He was kind, loving and compassionate.

It was my 18th birthday.

He entered from the rear sliding door with the gun drawn and ran directly into my bedroom. He ran right by me.

“We have to get out. He’s got a gun. He’s going to kill you.”

A few hours later, I heard the shot… He never left my room. Soon it will be 22 years since he died by suicide — and I can still hear that shot.

Access to firearms in the home played the largest role in my boyfriend’s death. He could have easily killed me or many others during this incident because he had a fully loaded gun — the capability was present.

Please become involved, more involved and Be SMART — know that gun violence is preventable.

Through awareness, education, engagement and communication, we can change the trajectory.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.