She was a sophomore at Westlake High and had a question for me. “So, I have a relative who owns a gun, and I know they don’t keep it secured. Can you give me any suggestions on how I talk to them or what I can say?”

It was an important question that I get quite often. It’s an easy answer. I felt my lips curling into a smile.

I was at Westlake for an event organized by the Eastern Association for Surgery of Trauma. I’d recruited two police officers—one to work alongside me, and the other to be on a Q&A panel at the end of the day.

Also presenting with us that day were two trauma surgeons—one from the Dallas area and another from Chicago. We were assigned to a small auditorium in the theater department. It held about 200 people, and we were expecting about 100 students for each rotation. There were four rotations. It was going to be a full day of injury prevention.

In other rooms, similar to ours, surgeons and experts were teaching students how to stop the bleed, and what distractions there are for student drivers. Me, I was the gun safety expert. I laugh at the title, but I guess it’s better than being anti-gun. I like to think I can say I’m not the expert, but an expert.

Gyl, the director of Texas Gun Sense, was there because her son attends Westlake, plus she was supporting me, a fellow board member. After the sophomore asked that question, Gyl heard my reply and said, “I really liked your answer. Would you blog about it?”

So! What was my answer? It was very simple. I said, “Use this event.  Tell your relative you attended a gun safety program and there was a mother who lost her son to a gun tragedy that was preventable. Tell them, I love you but I don’t want anything like that to happen to our family.”

I told that sophomore she should ask them if they’d be willing to secure their firearm. To tell about the pledge of responsibility she signed, and that she took one of the gun locks I was handing out. Here’s what our pledges look like in Lock Arms for Life. The stickers and the special pen were for anyone who pledged.

Lock Arms for Life Materials

Now you can do the same thing that sophomore did. You may not have been part of that presentation, but you’re a part of the audience for this blog. How many people can you share this message with in an email or a chat? How many can you point toward this blog? Can you tweet, or share on Facebook or Instagram?


Oh, and if you need a gun lock, or would host me in a safety presentation to your group, get in touch with me at my email address. I’ll be sure to get you what you need to help keep your family safe. That’s another kind of protection, the kind that you can reach out and touch, and pass on.