The NRA wants to give me guns as sweepstakes prize. They do have a prize in the sweepstakes I would like to have, but it’s probably not for the reasons they think.

Last week in my mail was a sweepstakes envelope from the NRA. I stared at the glossy emblazoned mailer that included an early entry bonus prize. I could win a 36-Gun Grand Prize! I stared at the envelope from Fairfax, Virginia, and turned it over in my hands. I know I’m a new NRA member, but a gun giveaway? How many school shootings have there been since the start of the new year? I read it’s now 10. My skin crawls, and I refuse to look inside of the envelope. I hadn’t thought of guns as a prize. For the last nine years I’ve thought about them being safer in our world.

After Jon’s death, my son Lance started collecting guns. He asked for one for Christmas, and I told him I’d never buy one. But I needed to play a role in his gun life. So for his 25th birthday, a birthday that Jon never lived to see, I bought Lance a gun safe.

Days went by, and that thick NRA envelope sat on the corner of my office desk. I wasn’t sure what to think. After all, the school shootings continue. Last month’s ceremonies to commemorate gun violence at Sandy Hook are so fresh. I can hear the names of those dead children being called out at the Central Presbyterian Church. All of us walked up to light a candle. I offered my prayer for safety.

I finally broke down and opened the envelope. Then I realized this might make for a good blog. My staged photo of the enclosures is at top. Some lucky person gets to win 36 guns. I say it out loud, “36 frickin guns! Who the hell needs 36 guns?” I choke swallowing some of my own spit.

After spending 10 minutes staring at the selection of AR’s, rifles, shotguns, pistols and revolvers, I decide to search the flyers for any evidence of compassion—a sharp-shooter’s eye seeking proof the NRA will do anything about safety.

I read the official rules page, looking for keywords like: background checks, safe storage, and NRA accountability. But guess what? Not a single mention was made. The only sign of safety came in a small blurb about an early entry bonus prize—a Winchester Silverado 51 Gun Safe.

Needless to say I will not enter the sweepstakes. It’s a fundraiser to promote the part of the political arm of the NRA. But I did find the perfect use for that NRA envelope. I was at a Starbucks, sitting across from my writing coach. We were talking about this blog, and every time I leaned in to take notes the table wobbled. Ron went to grab some sugar packets to stuff under one of the legs. But I said, “No, I think this will work.” He laughed.

Really glad he told me to take this picture.


Before I got my chance to post this there was another school shooting. Two dead and 19 wounded. Chills run up and down my body. I know people are tired of hearing about the gun violence. I’m having a hard time myself looking at my Facebook and Twitter feeds. More and more gun deaths. Some of my friends probably quit following me, it seems all I post about is tragedy. But there was a gun safe at the very top of the NRA’s sweepstakes. Just one prize, one that I consider the grand prize. Safety.