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Family Stories
Read one family's tragic story of loss due to a child's access to guns.

Family Stories

Gun injury, suicide, and firearm accidents have touched many lives. Tragedies occur daily involving unlocked firearms easily accessible to young people either at their own homes or the home of a relative or neighbor.

These tragedies leave parents, siblings, and friends with feelings of loss, anger, and guilt. Often sharing the story with others helps in the grieving process.

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In December 1997, Ann Marie Crowell (right) lost her son when he was accidentally shot by a friend with a loaded gun.

Christmas Eve parties were the tradition at the Crowell house, and Christmas 1997 was no different. As friends and family began to gather and celebrate the season, 12-year-old Brian Crowell walked over to his friends' house until it was time for the family party to begin.

Unsupervised, Brian's friend Matt took him to his Mother's bedroom so he could show him her gun. The revolver, unlocked and hidden in a dresser drawer under her clothes, was kept in the house as an extra measure of protection.

Matt knew there were bullets in the gun, but he didn't know the right way to unload the piece. After shaking it a few times, he was able to remove five of the six rounds.

Assuming the weapon was completely empty, Matt began squeezing the trigger. On the third pull, the overlooked round went off, and Brian was hit.

The 35 friends and relatives present for Christmas Eve dinner wound up in the emergency room praying for Brian's life. He died on the operating table.

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