Traverse City Record-Eagle


April 7, 2013

Gun safe mom: Brother's shooting death prompts advocacy

TRAVERSE CITY – The way Missy Carson Smith sees it, advocating for gun safety in the home is not about gun control or gun ownership. It’s about keeping kids safe in their homes and the homes of friends they visit.

It’s about having conversations with spouses and other parents about how guns are stored and made inaccessible to children.

It’s about developing a family gun safety plan and being willing to be identified as a gun-safe mom or dad and talk about it.

Gun safety is dear to Smith’s heart. Her brother, Jeffrey, died at age 12 in 1986 when an emotionally disturbed classmate invited him to his house and then shot him five minutes later with a family firearm. She was 13.

Today, Smith is a mother of four daughters ages 5 to 9, a former elementary teacher, and founder of Gun Safe Mom, an advocacy organization she started in 2009 after learning that her daughter’s first play date had been in a home with at least one unlocked gun in it.

“I felt sick to my stomach,” Smith said. “I had put my daughter’s safety at risk by agreeing to the play date before asking the other child’s parents if guns were in the home.”

She recognized her discomfort and her fear of offending them — a fear she believes is shared by many parents, especially women.

She realized she and husband Jeff, who comes from a long line of hunters, never had talked about the old unloaded family hunting guns in their home and how uncomfortable she felt about them.

They talked. She told them they either needed to buy a gun safe big enough to accommodate a rifle or get rid of them.

She also discussed her concerns with the parents in the home where her kindergartner had played.

Text Only

Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
Bill Murray Continues To Be Just Bill Murray By Eating Some Free Bill Murray Ice Cream Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl