My daughter Sarah was a vivacious, loving, artistic, charming young woman. Without hesitation, she embraced people of all kinds, appreciating their beauty and forgiving their flaws. Sadly, she fell in love with the person who would eventually steal her from us, with his firearm.
On the night that my daughter Sarah Browder told her abusive husband that she was leaving, she fled and made it across the street before he put a bullet through her second vertebra, and another through her shoulder. He then turned then killed himself and died instantly. Both of them lay on the sidewalk until someone who heard the shots was able to rush to their sides to try to help. Sarah spent the last five days of her life in the ICU, unable to speak, move, or breath on her own, stolen by a violent man who was able to easily acquire a gun without submitting to a criminal background check.
My family and I were left shaken and numbed in 2012 by both my daughter’s death and the Sandy Hook Massacre shortly thereafter. Looking for a way forward to lessen our grief, we devoted ourselves to educating others about the dynamics of domestic violence and about gun violence in America. We wanted people to know what we had not know — that the presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide five times. It made no sense that in our country, with all its resources, women are 21 times more likely to die by gun homicide than women in other developed nations, or that our Congress has been paralyzed by any suggestion that legislation could make us safer.
It is imperative that our leaders address the health crisis that gun violence represents in our country and take action to stop it. We demand that Congress honor the wishes of ninety percent of Americans who want a criminal background check on every gun sale, and we urge Congress to pass extreme risk protection order laws that would permit the confiscation of firearms from anyone at risk of hurting themselves or others.
It is within our power to achieve greater safety for our communities.. Surely gun safety is an issue that touches the hearts of all citizens and can unite us in hope and compassion. Our time is nigh. We are within reach of saving countless lives with gun sense legislation, while we continue to honor the memories of those stolen from us and to offer comfort to the vast number of survivors among us.