After the recent community college shooting in Oregon, I vowed to do something about the issue of guns in this country.
As I’ve sat here trying to figure out what can be done, more and more instances of unnecessary gun violence have made the news.
Recent news articles that have haunted me…
- New Mexico road-rage incident in which a driver pulls out a gun and shoots and kills 4-year-old girl Lilly in another car
- Gun falls out of a woman’s purse in a doctor’s office waiting room, goes off, and shoots someone in the hip
- 8-year-old Sharia dies while mom is braiding her hair because her mom’s gun falls to the floor and shoots Sharia in the head
But I think the most troubling fact I’ve come across is this one:
Are you kidding me?! That is disturbing and just plain WRONG.
Maybe you had been fooling yourself that “it won’t happen to my kid.” Not in my neighborhood. Yet with that insanely high statistic, can you really be so sure?
I’m not willing to bet my kids’ lives on the assumption that since my neighbors seem smart and friendly and nice then that must mean that they don’t have guns…or that if they do have guns, that they are kept locked up.
Take the instance of Brooklyn, a 13-year-old girl who was shot by her friend in Nevada. Her friend’s dad kept a gun in the house and showed his daughter how to use it in case of an intruder. Well, an intruder didn’t come but the friend was “messing around” with the gun when she shot and killed Brooklynn.
Brooklynn had been taught that guns were not toys and if she ever found a gun at someone’s house, she should get as far away as she could– which she did. She was walking away when her friend shot her in the back.
So the question remains, what can YOU do to help stop these tragedies from occurring? I have vowed to start asking potential play dates if they have guns in their houses and whether or not they are locked up. In fact, I did it for the first time the other day.
Did I feel uncomfortable mentioning guns to a neighbor I just met? Kind of.
But the potential risk in not asking and not knowing a household’s gun policy is not a risk I’m willing to take.
It doesn’t have to be a serious conversation; I did it over Facebook messenger. I had invited a neighborhood child over to play and I informed the mother in a casual way that “I just want to let you know, we are all vaccinated and we don’t have guns in our house.” She responded that they, too, are vaccinated and have no guns. It was easy.
And if she had said that they did have guns, I would have asked if they were kept locked. I’m sure that I will encounter this situation sooner rather than later being that I now live in the Virginia countryside.
While that is an important first step, there are other steps you can take to tackle this national crisis.
You can BE SMART.
S ecure guns in homes and vehicles. Meaning, guns need to be securely LOCKED UP and kept out of a child’s reach.
M odel responsible behavior. Tell your kids repeatedly that guns are dangerous and what they should do if they ever find a gun– don’t touch it and go find an adult.
A sk about unsecured guns in other homes. Just ask.
R ecognize the risks of teen suicide. The teen years are rough. A suicide attempt by a gun will most often be fatal, unlike a suicide attempt by other means. We need to keep guns out of homes where at-risk teens can find them, making a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
T ell your peers to be SMART. Get your friends and family involved and on-board for this cause.
You can become a citizen lobbyist. Call your politicians and tell them that enough is enough.
And get out there and vote this November! Vote for those politicians who support strict gun control measures. Make your voice count!
Follow Moms Demand Action on Facebook and join the movement!
Hey, you! Stick around. My spidey senses tell me you might be interested in one of the following posts…