Ashlyn Melton experienced every parent’s worst nightmare in December 2011. Her 13-year-old son Noah was sleeping over at a friend’s house when she got a message from her ex-husband. Noah had been shot. The other boy had 4 unsecured guns in his room, and it was with one of those guns he shot Noah. Noah died at the scene. The boy, who was 15 at the time, didn’t know the gun was loaded. Ashlyn has turned her grief into action, by promoting the ASK Campaign. ASK stands for Asking Saves Lives, and Ashlyn hopes that by opening up the dialogue around having guns in the home, she can spare even one other parent from losing their child to gun violence.
Ashlyn is hoping her unimaginable loss can keep other kids safe, with the help of the ASK Campaign.
According to ASK, 80% of unintentional firearm deaths of kids under 15 occur in a home. Also, as many as 1.7 million kids live in a home with a loaded, unsecured firearm. Devastatingly, gun violence is now the second leading cause of death among children and teens. When a child gets hold of a gun in the home and shoots themselves or someone else, people tend to brush it off as an accident. But these injuries and deaths can be prevented with common sense safety measures.
The ASK Campaign wants parents to start asking the hard questions. Before sending your kid off to play or sleepover, asking “Is there an unlocked gun in your home?” can be the difference between life and death.
Keeping kids safe in their own homes shouldn’t be a political issue. This isn’t about gun control or taking away anyone’s firearms. This is about common sense safety and precautions. Melton says she is a gun owner herself; Noah grew up around guns, and had been going hunting since he was 3 years old. But, says Ashlyn, she keeps telling his story because none of that matters. “It matters that because somebody else wasn’t taking care of this other child and keeping their kids safe, mine died.”
Nothing will bring Noah back, or the thousands and thousands and THOUSANDS of other kids killed by unintentional gun violence. But Ashlyn and the ASK Campaign hope to prevent anymore senseless deaths.
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(Image: Facebook / Ashlyn Melton)