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Markie, 3

One June day, I left work a little later than expected. This made me a few minutes late to pick up my 3-year-old son from his regular babysitter’s house outside St. Louis.

It was during those minutes that the babysitter’s 11-year-old child found a gun in a closet. Markie, my son, entered the room, surprising the boy with the gun. The gun went off. He never meant to shoot Markie.

Today, I tell all parents to ask a simple question that can help prevent unintentional shootings like the one that has changed my life:

“Is there an unlocked gun in the homes where my child plays?”

There’s no way to describe the pain of losing a child and the effects of Markie’s death – not just on my family, but also on the family of the boy who shot my son.

My hope is to prevent other families from feeling the same pain and heartache. That is why I support the ASKing Saves Kids Campaign. The campaign encourages parents to ask about guns in the home before sending their children over to play.

Parenting is a constant juggling act, and we can always share extra tips and information to help keep our children safe.

And while I know many parents might find it hard to start this conversation, it's a conversation that can save lives.

I encourage you to pledge to ASK, and to make sure your friends and neighbors do too.

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