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

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Liz Hjelmseth

I was 8 years old when my 16-year-old brother shot me. He didn’t shoot me because he hated me. He didn’t shoot me because he wanted to kill me or even hurt me. I was shot because in a moment of anger and frustration, my brother was able to access an improperly stored gun. My family, like so many others, didn’t see a danger in having unsecured guns because we held false beliefs.

We believed that if there was quality gun safety training, and if adults modeled safe gun handling, that a responsible teenager could have unrestricted access to guns. LIE

We believed that if the rules were strict enough and the punishment harsh enough, kids would comply and never use a gun in an unsafe way. LIE

We believed that nothing bad could happen to our family because we loved each other, we sat down to dinner together every night and we kept up with what was happening. LIE

There is only one belief you should hold, one truth, when it comes to guns in your home. To keep everyone safe, they need to be stored properly: locked up, with the ammunition stored separately.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.

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