Please Join the Fight to Prevent Gun Violence

December 7, 2017
Dear Friends,
My son Lex started buying guns on his 18th birthday. He was diagnosed with autism when he was eight, and in his teens became increasingly reclusive and isolated. Lex refused to be evaluated, so we did not know that he was also living with undiagnosed paranoid schizophrenia. After he tried, and failed, to buy a gun at a local gun shop, I called the Austin Police Department to request that they help stop Lex from buying guns. Two officers said that while it was clear that he was unstable, there was nothing they could do to help me. This was not good enough.

I joined the board of Texas Gun Sense because I am committed to common sense gun laws that help keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them. I hope you will join me in supporting Texas Gun Sense with a tax-deductible donation today.
Over the next two years Lex bought many guns, and indeed, there was nothing I could do to stop him, even though I knew he was potentially a danger to himself or someone else. On September 18, 2013, Lex stabbed his father to death at our home. Even though Lex didn't shoot his dad, his instability and high-risk mental illness led him to commit a murder. Though it took a terrible tragedy, I am grateful that Lex is no longer able to harm anyone with the arsenal he had built up.
People like my son should not have access to guns. I have connected with other survivors and know that there are many families like mine in our community - families who are afraid for their lives because they live with a loved one in crisis who is buying guns. I firmly believe Texas should enact a Lethal Violence Protective Order (LVPO) to keep our loved ones and the community safe.

An LVPO is issued by a court when there is sufficient evidence to believe that an individual is an imminent risk to self or others. LVPO laws have been enacted in five other states, and one study in Connecticut concluded that the law prevented at least 100 suicides.
I don’t want any more families to have to experience devastation like mine. Texas Gun Sense brings me hope that we can do something to reduce gun violence – it is the only Texas-based organization advocating for common sense, evidence-based policies to keep guns out of the wrong hands. Make your gift to Texas Gun Sense today so we can begin 2018 ready to hit the ground running. We know most changes to gun laws occur at the state level, and TGS is working with dedicated leaders and community members to make a difference right here at home.

Warm Regards,
Leslie Ervin
Board Member, Texas Gun Sense

Leslie Ervin is a Texas Gun Sense board member and active TGS volunteer making frequent advocacy visits to Texas legislators. She volunteers with National Alliance on Mental Illness.