Leesa Ross is a mother of three who lost her oldest son Jon to a handgun accident. In her forthcoming memoir At Close Range (Texas Tech University Press) she tells the story about how Jon’s college-age accident in a campus town changed the rest of her life. After his death she took action, creating education about how we must make our gun ownership safer. Her memoir outlines the way forward for gun safety, using the language and practices of the New Talk we must have educate young adults. The Talk gives advice as essential as any lessons about drinking and driving, responsible sex habits and suicide awareness we share with our children.
Leesa is a board member of Texas Gun Sense, an apolitical organization devoted to gun safety for Texans of all ages. She’s been trained as a Lead Survivor in the Be SMART gun safety program. Her Get ACTIVE campaign gives students and young adults the tools to prevent gun tragedies and stay safe in a world of weapons. As part of her work beyond Jon’s death, she’s been giving speeches to organizations from schools to rallies to Texas legislative committees.
Leesa has appeared in numerous media outlets, including the Austin Fox affiliate, KLBJ’s Come and Talk It radio program and podcast focused on gun owners, and the newspaper of the state capital, the Austin American Statesman, the Daily Texan, and the Texas Observer.
Leesa has founded Lock Arms for Life, a focused safety program aimed at people old enough to drive but still young at life, one that has the support of police leaders in Austin and the University of Texas Campus. The safety initiative has been a part of UT’s SafeHorns program. Lock Arms for Life gives young adults the rules and training to promote safe gun ownership and secure weapons as a part of a safer life, on campus as well as off. Lock Arms for Life is for gun owners as well as all community members.
To ensure she stays in touch with gun owners, she’s a member of the NRA and a gun owner. Leesa supports Second Amendment rights as a part of safe ownership goals.
A Texas resident for nearly 40 years, Leesa lives in Austin with her husband Randy, her two sons Lance and Keaton, and a devoted retriever Lucy who’s been by her side all through her journey.