I’m a Gun Owner, and I Want to Make the World My Daughter Lives in Safer
Our series “The NRA Doesn’t Speak for Me” highlights the voices and stories of responsible gun owners across the country advocating for gun safety.
I grew up in rural Pennsylvania in a conservative religious community, on a working farm.
My family has a lot of hunters—our bedtime stories were about 12-point buck, not unicorns.
Practicing Responsible Gun Ownership
Even though I grew up in a gun-owning community, as an adult, I didn’t take the decision to own guns lightly. My husband didn’t grow up with guns in his home, so we had a lot of conversations about what gun safety measures we would take.
I store my guns and ammunition in separate safes, in different areas of our property. My child never has access to guns in my home without my supervision. I am always open with other parents in sharing that there are guns in our home and how we safely store them.
I see it as my responsibility as a gun owner and a parent to ensure that no one can access my guns or ammunition without my knowledge. In my home, children never have access to guns.
Why I’m in This Fight
I’ve been involved in gun policy reform advocacy for six years and organized at the local and state levels. My motivation to be involved is the same as my motivation for anything that I do: to make the world my daughter lives in as safe as possible.
By the time my daughter graduates from high school, she will have practiced avoiding her death at the hands of an active shooter in her school at least 30 times, because we, as adults, have failed her. Hours after this photo was taken, my daughter was forced to huddle in a bathroom stall with her six and seven-year-old classmates because a teacher saw teenagers with what turned out to be air rifles across the street.
We are raising a generation of children who have been exposed to lockdown drills, mass shootings, gun suicide, and gun homicide as a daily occurrence. They view their peers not as just potential friends, but also as potential school shooters.
Advocating for Gun Safety
People are often surprised to learn that I’m both a gun owner and a gun safety advocate. The issue has become so deeply divisive that gun safety advocates are assumed to be “anti-gun,”when most gun owners are actually supportive of proactive policies like background checks, licensing to carry in public places, safety training, and education.
While the NRA may have begun as a gun safety organization, the organization’s extremist shift to advocating for guns everywhere for everyone, with no safety precautions, is irresponsible. Their propaganda does not reflect my viewpoint at all.
May 25, 2021
I believe in the Second Amendment and as a law-abiding citizen, I believe that it is my right to own firearms. However, I agree with Supreme Court Justice Scalia who, in his DC v. Heller opinion, stated that the Second Amendment allows for reasonable limitations on the type of firearms private citizens can possess and the places they can be carried.
As I write this, Texas is on the verge of passing permitless carry, a dangerous policy that I’m against. Many well-intentioned gun owners aren’t prepared to safely carry hidden, loaded guns in public. Removing the permitting requirement, which currently involves four to six hours of training, a live-fire proficiency test and a written test, is reckless and misguided.
We can and should expect better from our elected leaders. I invite other gun owners to join me in pressuring our lawmakers to pass commonsense gun law reforms. There’s no time to waste.
STAND UP FOR SAFETY
Americans are not as divided as it may seem. Join Giffords Gun Owners for Safety to stand in support of responsible gun ownership. We’ll share ways to connect with fellow gun owners and support our fight for a safer America.