Lafayette’s Mary Henry educates and advocates for gun safety
By Lisa Truesdale
Growing up in Boulder, Mary Henry also spent time at her family’s Wyoming ranch, where guns were “a necessary part of work and life on the ranch.” She still believes in people’s rights to gun ownership, but as a mother of two now living in Lafayette, she doesn’t have guns in her home because, “I know owning a gun substantially raises the risk that someone in my family would be injured or killed with my gun.”
Henry is the Colorado Be SMART state chapter lead volunteer for Moms Demand Action, a nationwide nonprofit that educates and advocates for gun safety. As part of its Be SMART campaign, she spends five to 10 hours a week at community and private events sharing a message about modeling responsible behavior around guns so they don’t get into the wrong hands and cause a tragedy.
For information about the campaign, go to www.besmartforkids.org.
“We know that 1.7 million children across the U.S. live in homes with guns that are loaded and unsecured. We know that in 2014 firearms were the second-leading cause of death for youth ages 1 to 19,” she says. “Many of these deaths and injuries can be avoided by simply locking up guns and storing them away from children.”
According to Be SMART’s statistics, around 100 children die in unintentional shootings every year, and more than 400 children die by suicide with a gun. Over the last year in Colorado, there were five unintentional shootings by children, she says.
Part of the Be SMART message is about parents being aware when their children are visiting homes with guns and determining if the guns are stored safely. Henry has learned too many sad stories about families whose children were accidentally shot at friends’ houses.
“The conversation with gun owners is not about taking away their guns. We talk about what to do for the safety of our children.”
Tanya Ishikawa is a freelance writer who regularly writes about the arts, human rights, education and politics for Brock Media publications.