Krista Ceresa, right, whose mother, Ginny May, was murdered by Gary Davis in 1986, testifies against gun control legislation in the Colorado Legislature, at the State Capitol, in Denver, Monday, March 4, 2013. State Senate committees began work Monday on a package of gun-control measures that already have cleared the House which include limits on ammunition magazine sizes and expanded background checks to include private sales and online purchases. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
Krista Ceresa, right, whose mother, Ginny May, was murdered by Gary Davis in 1986, testifies against gun control legislation in the Colorado Legislature, at the State Capitol, in Denver, Monday, March 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)


The last man executed in the state of Colorado was the man who murdered my mother…

This is how I was told I needed to start my letter to state legislators in 2013 when I decided to stand tall and speak out against the sweeping gun control legislation presented in Colorado. But as much as I was committed to taking action, I was grossly offended at the fact that my chances of being heard as a citizen were obsolete without divulging my very “personal and relevant” story to make the case on why I felt as though my Second Amendment rights were being infringed upon.

Apparently, some people thought that in order for my insight to be respected, I had to first revisit and share a very painful scene with strangers and legislators that brings me back to the most horrific time in my life each and every time I talk about it.

So before I gave my testimony, I was forced to describe myself as a young girl; how I watched my mother being chased around the yard by a criminal as I was held restrained by another assailant on the front steps of our country home. I recalled the panic in her voice as she glanced toward me on the porch, desperately struggling for a means to protect us both. I described this scene from years ago in order for my voice to be heard that day. 

After exhausting my painful past, I was able to testify to legislators that the man who violently assaulted her and ultimately took her life, had obtained his firearm illegally. Then I told them their proposed gun control legislation would do nothing to keep violent criminals from obtaining guns now or in the future and would only hurt the ability of law abiding citizens’ like me to defend ourselves effectively.

Aside from the effects of my past, my needs as an adult woman and mother are the same as any other sensible woman trying to protect herself and her family from the evil that undoubtedly lurks in this world. I am a law abiding citizen. I worry about my children as they play in our yard. I talk vigilantly about strangers, walking the fine line between the dangers they may present and preserving the innocence of a 4-year-old mind. I stay alert, aware of my surroundings, and have requested a security escort to my car in a mall garage or a dark parking lot on more than one occasion.

As women, we practice and preach countless safety tips to avoid the senseless tragedies reported daily on news outlets across the country and beyond. But the reality is, there are individuals in this world who are so brazen and inherently evil that they will cross unspeakable lines, damning any law put set against their warped behavior. In the face of evil, we collectively stand together as women and as a society, proudly speaking of all the rights we have as women and how we can empower ourselves and others to demand respect and remain safe while we continue to confidently live our lives. 

However, I’ve  found that when I make my decision to exercise my Second Amendment rights as my personal choice of self protection, regardless of my past or present situation, the cheering section becomes a little quieter. Suddenly, I have to jump through hoops and climb mountains to justify my form of self defense is in fact my own personal choice. 

It wasn’t until after the birth of my first child that I felt the gravity of a parent’s responsibility to protect a precious, innocent life. It wasn’t until that moment that I could truly comprehend what went through my mother’s mind as she fought for her life. Driven by this enormous sense of duty, I realized nothing matters more than the safety of my children, and because of my experience, I knew that the best choice for my personal protection was for me to carry a firearm.

I don’t live in fear. I live in reality.

I refuse to allow my past to define my future and I will not allow my children to witness the look of fear and helpless desperation I saw in my mother’s eyes before her life was taken from her. I know the greatest way I could ever honor her is to live prepared; armed and ready to defend myself and my children, encouraging women to do the same for themselves and their loved ones as well.

Just like she would have done if given the chance.

Krista Ceresa grew up near a small town in Eastern Colorado. As a young child she witnessed the kidnapping of her mother who was later violently assaulted and murdered at the hands of her assailant, who illegally obtained a firearm.
Now a mother herself, Krista is a passionate defender of gun rights. She went public with her story, speaking out against gun control in 2013 in Colorado when proposed legislation threatened her ability to fully exercise her Second Amendment rights.