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 her husband put a bullet through her second vertebra, and another through her shoulder. He then killed himself and died instantly, in a bid to escape responsibility for what he had done while trying to virtually own my daughter. She lay in the ICU for four days before she died. Sarah Browder died at age 29, stolen by a controlling, 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 my daughter’s death in 2012 and the Sandy Hook Massacre shortly thereafter. In an effort to honor Sarah’s life and to spare others a similar fate, I became educated about the dynamics of domestic abuse and its correlation with gun ownership. It made no sense to me that in our country, with all its resources, women are 16 times more likely to die by gun violence than women in other countries, that our children are dying at a rate 11 times higher than children in other developed nations, or that our Congress has been paralyzed by any suggestion that gun reform could make us safer. It finally made sense when I connected the dots to the gun manufacturers’ lobby, to its quest for profits through the nurturing of fear and the false notion that more guns make Americans safer.
I have worked to support candidates for office who value our children’s lives more than they value the profits and power derived from guns. Ninety percent of Americans, including a majority of gun owners and NRA members, and including my own family of gun owners, want a criminal background check on every gun sale. So, I stay informed about the position on gun safety of every candidate on my ballot, I vote accordingly, and I use my voice as an Everytown Survivor Fellow to influence others about the issue of gun safety. I value the compassionate and data driven support of Everytown and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense. This organization has been a lifeline and an ally for my husband Sandy, my daughter Katie, and me; we are all three Moms Demand volunteers. We are committed to the goals set forth by Moms Demand Action — to seek legislation for a criminal background check on every gun sale and for extreme risk restraining orders, to teach safe gun storage through our Be Smart for Kids program, and to offer support and compassion to other survivors of gun violence. The hard work of Moms Demand Action volunteers is paying off and I am optimistic that 2019 will be a landmark year in moving closer to a safer America.