September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.  Read and share stories to honor survivors whose loved ones died by gun suicide.

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As a survivor of gun violence, I know how dangerous our weak gun laws are. My Dad was a Vietnam vet. I grew up with his symptoms of PTSD. When I was 12, I talked my father down from shooting my mother in the head. Hearing her crying “don’t kill me,” seeing her head over the toilet, I pleaded for her life. She was able to escape but was too afraid he would kill her if she reported it. There was a good chance he would have. Not all cases are prosecuted.

Years later, in 2008, we noticed my father was acting bizarrely. He was threatening his family and neighbors. My Dad had a huge arsenal. I called the police after my father had pushed me; I asked each officer I reported to for safe storage of his guns and rifles. I was told Texas had no laws that allowed police to take weapons from someone who didn’t have a felony. I saw evidence in the house that alarmed me, so I reported it. The police had to wait until something happened to do anything.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.