Stories of Gun Violence

Craig Reynolds

I lost one of my closest childhood friends at the hands of a gun. Steve’s family were hunters. They kept their rifles in an unlocked cabinet in the basement of their home. And one day, after school, one of those guns was used to kill Steve. 

It was an ordinary day. We’d all gotten back from our classes and were hanging out. I’d headed home first and less than an hour later, I saw police cars and aid vehicles outside Steve’s home. I was later told that Danny and Steve had taken out a bolt action rifle. They began racing to see who could load and unload it the fastest. They never learned the answer to that question because Steve was accidentally shot in the chest. He died later that day. 

This is a story I know happens far too often. Eight children are unintentionally shot in the United States every day from improperly stored firearms. Here in Washington State, nearly half of all gun owners do not lock up their guns. 

It took Danny a long time to come back to school. And even after he did, it was only for a short period. He and his family eventually moved away. Hardly a day goes by where I don’t think about Steve’s tragic death, the trauma endured by his siblings, parents, and family, and the guilt felt by Danny. Steve didn’t have to die. 

Steve and Danny never should have been able to access the rifle in the first place. Now, I work to decrease unintentional tragedies such as these so no one will have to suffer the way Steve and his family did.

Craig Reynolds is a gun violence prevention advocate, consulting actuary, and a member of the City Council of Mercer Island.