Like lots of women, I love Nancy Drew’s stories. She’s an investigator, something I admire. I like Diane Sawyer too, and solving mysteries. How the NRA might be of any help to safer gun ownership may seem like an unsolvable mystery—but Nancy didn’t give up. Think of this as part of my investigative series on NRA, Everytown for Gun Safety and me.

I was in DC to complete a survivor fellowship program that’s led by Everytown for Gun Safety. We were 37 survivors from 21 states. We worked through two and half days of workshops. It’s been said many times by survivors “we are in a club where we don’t want any more members.”

In DC, my note-keeping started right away, at the ice breaker dinner. A mystery is only solved with clues and observations. I played fly on the wall while I balanced my beer, made small talk and listened to stories.

I wasn’t quite like anybody else I met at the Everytown Fellowship training. It was a place where I was meeting Katy face to face. Katy’s a volunteer and advocacy fellow and a New Jersey girl. Her sister was shot by her husband on a street in Maryland. Her sister survived, but the trauma from the brain injury has been a challenge. Katy advocates in her sister’s behalf, but she told me that she hopes one day her sister will be strong enough to tell the story herself.

After a long day of listening to speakers, slide presentations and practicing to be interviewed, we met up in the hotel restaurant/bar. We pushed tables together. It was noisy. We snacked on french fries and drank cocktails. Katy sat next me. She reminded me of girlfriend I knew in college. I like her. We chatted about our families, her sister, Jon and then my guns. How many do you have?

Katy had lots of questions about my NRA membership. She brought up my membership under the guise of asking about my gun ownership. She said she wanted to carry my NRA story back to Moms Demand Action. I explained how our family can own guns while I want to make ownership safer. Like everybody, later on I thought of more to say.

Me, Katy—none of us wanted to join the club of survivors. The club is people injured or killed by a gun, as well as those of us who loved those casualties. We like the benefits of friendships and understanding, but we don’t want any more members in the club.

The story from Everytown is tucked into slick folders with color letterhead on each release. My story is out on a Facebook page. It includes a picture of my son Lance’s dead deer he killed on a hunt. One advocate was stunned. “Take that off your Facebook page,” she advised me. I think it was advice.

Some pictures of our stories were created during the training. I painted (add picture) with Stephanie. I sat in small group with Robert and Katy and shared our stories.

From her question I realized Katy didn’t own any guns and has probably never shot one. She told me her parents and some grandparents owned guns. Those are members of the club too. None of us can ever leave the club, but we were in DC to try to keep others from having to register.

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