LYNCHBURG, Va. - A local mom is working to make sure other parents don't have to go through what she has, her son's fatal shooting.
"Gun violence isn't OK," said Brenda Moss.
Hundreds of young lives lost every year to gun violence and among them now is Moss' son Shawn.
"Shawn was a peacemaker; Shawn would rather go away after an argument, let you cool down and then come back and say, 'I love you'," said Moss.
She is now active in Moms Demand Action, a national group encouraging a culture of responsible gun ownership. Moss says she is tired of the gun violence in Lynchburg.
"My hope for all young people is to understand that the choice that you make when you pick up that firearm, there's no turning back once you pull that trigger," said Moss.
The group is launching the 'Be SMART' program with Lynchburg schools.
It stands for---
Secure guns at home and in your car. She points to the statistic that about 4.6 million children in the U.S. live with at least one loaded, unlocked gun in their home.
Model responsible behavior around guns
Ask about guns in other homes. They want that conversation to be easier, just like asking if there are pets or a pool.
"You would think it would be common sense, but ask, 'Is there a firearm?' And ask is the firearm secured. If we find those questions can't be asked, then you have to ask yourself do you allow your child to go?" said Moss.
Recognize the role of guns in suicide
Tell your peers to Be SMART.
Click here to see read more about the Be SMART program.
"If someone is saying something that's harmful, that's going to be harmful for them tell somebody," said Moss. "Make good choices. Stop in the midst of what you're doing, think about what you're doing and change the outcome of your life because a split-second decision can change your life for the rest of your life. It's not worth it. It's not worth destroying families, it's not worth destroying your life and it's not worth a parent wondering why," said Moss.
Moms Demand Action is still working out logistics with Lynchburg schools but hope to roll out the Be SMART program this fall.
This is part of an ongoing 10 News series about kids and guns. There will be multiple stories in August about how to keep your family safe. As many police departments have told us during interviews for this series, it is not about being pro-gun or anti-gun, it is about locking up guns so kids and/or criminals don't have access to guns.
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