Tis the season for family gatherings, hunting trips, show-and-tell of new guns from holiday gift-giving. This is also a painful time for several of our AG & AG sisters.
The night before Thanksgiving in 2000, Kay Stauber was in the kitchen baking pies with her granddaughter. She answered the phone, and the voice on the line told her that son, Noah, had shot himself. Kay still carries so much pain from losing Noah. It was announced on social media so everyone seemed to know before she did. She was given three different stories on how the incident happened and has never had closure on his death.
Noah was 20 years old, a good young man with a big heart. He was not only Kay’s son, he was her best friend and protector. Because of Noah’s incident, Kay stayed away from firearms for years. In March 2017, she decided that “Noah would want his mom to be okay and not to fear guns because of what happened to him.” She joined A Girl & A Gun and has been moving forward and sharing her story.
Dawn Rodriguez is another mother in AG & AG with a constant ache in her heart. Her son Nicholas was also 20 years old when his life was cut short from a firearm accident. Like Kay, Dawn has never had closure on her son’s death and no one is really sure what happened. Nicholas was an avid marksman and very knowledgeable about firearms. He loved shooting and he loved spending time with his mom at the range.
Many of her friends and family criticized her for continuing to shoot after Nicholas’ accident. They challenged her, “When are you going to stop all of this gun sh*t?” Dawn replied that if Nicholas had died in a car accident, she wouldn’t stop driving. More importantly, Dawn feels close to Nicholas at the range. He had found AG & AG for her and encouraged her to join. She became a certified pistol instructor and now leads the Dallas chapter. She teaches gun safety and invites other women and families to have fun at the range. Through her journey, Dawn is able to welcome mothers, who have experienced a firearms loss, back to the range where they can express their feelings freely without judgement and find their paths forward.
Kids and adults fall victim to firearm accidents and too many mothers say, “I don’t really know what happened.” We mothers must hold our firearms community accountable to engage in training and education, and avoid complacency. Many of us became gun owners to protect our children; let us continue to protect them by reminding them to always practice the Safety Rules. Guns are fun, and new guns during the holidays are exciting, but remind your children — even your adult children — to be responsible.