Gun safety is looking like a top priority at this year’s Texas legislative session. That’s what the representative who I talked with said yesterday. A Texas law against negligence is a step forward that North Carolina could then follow. I wish that state had that law on the books nine years ago when I lost Jon to a gun.

Yesterday was my first time attending an Advocacy Day with Moms Demand Action. We campaigned at the Capitol and I decided to take a friend with me. Tianne had reached out to me several months ago about wanting to get involved with Moms somehow. We’ve talked twice about Lock Arms for Life, and she attended my safe storage presentation that I did for parents at a high school in suburban Austin.

But Ti’s never been to a Moms meeting. Advocacy Day is the biggest event Moms does, so I thought I’d ask her along. Plus, I always feel more comfortable at these big events with a friend at my side.

Our day started at 9:30 and would end around 2. After I picked her up, we arrived at the Central Christian Church for the beginning—a rally with speakers. Diana, a gun violence survivor I’ve come to know and love, did the introductions of speakers, plus shared her story of her son, Dedrick’s death. My girlfriend said she was very moved by Diana’s and others stories, but she wished they had included a gentlemen I knew who had survived the UT tower shooting.

Afterwards we marched to the Capitol where a photographer took a group picture on the steps of the Capitol.

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I entered the building using my LTC card—that’s a License To Carry, for you non-gun owners. I think I was the only one in this group of 400 that carried the card. I felt like a VIP or a flier passing through a TSA pre-check. There was only one guy in front of me. I could feel the stares from the other Moms as they waited in the long line to get their bags checked. It does feel like an oxymoron; I don’t have to have anyone check my bag at the Capitol to see if I’m carrying a gun—something, in truth, I will never cart.

I always feel like an outsider in this organization, and watching the moms in that line helped me see why. But is it me, or them? Sometimes I wonder if Moms supports any gun ownership. They say they do—but why is it that I’ve never been offered up for press interviews like other survivors have? Jon always marched to the beat to a different drummer, and I guess I do, too. It might be the rebel inside me. Moms might be afraid I’ll speak outside of their structured message box.

I do love many of those woman and their passion. That’s why I attend and remain a constant supporter.

We entered the Senate gallery to a sea of red t-shirts. My girlfriend was surprised by the numbers. Representative Hinojosa give us a shout out.

Then we were off to meet with lawmakers. I came prepared with my Texas Gun Sense business cards, a flyer about Lock Arms, and my elevator pitch about Jon’s death. Hearing a couple of the representatives support firearms safety was like music to my ears. But what law has North Carolina ever passed and enforced to save others from Jon’s fate? What about protection from criminal gun negligence?

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