On a Sunday at the end of March in 2015, my family’s life was changed forever when our son, 8 at the time, had to witness his friend get shot in the face with a loaded and unsecured rifle.
My son and three other friends were playing at our next-door neighbors’ home when they decided to play “cops and robbers.” My son and our neighbors son were in “prison” in the shed, and the other two boys were “cops.” In the shed was a loaded and unsecured rifle that our neighbors’ son decided to get and “bust out of prison.” For a couple of seconds the gun was pointed right in my sons face. Realizing the gun was real, he ran out of the shed. The shed doors were closed and opened again by the neighbors’ son holding the rifle. The rifle was shot and went through the face of my son’s friend. My son had to witness this gruesome sight at a very young age — an incident that most adults couldn’t imagine.
The father of the boy who shot the gun didn’t get his gun taken away and got unsupervised probation — a slap on the wrist. All this because he had no priors.
I was determined to do what I could so that parents never felt like my husband and I did — helpless and fearful. We continue to have to deal with PTSD — mostly for me. My work with Everytown for Gun Safety is important to me because I know I am doing what it takes to save children’s lives. My family and I will always continue to educate parents on the important question of asking about guns in homes — because for us this is not an option anymore. We are survivors.