Our mission is to prevent gun violence and other gun tragedies in Texas through education, partnerships, and policy change. We achieve this mission through a multi-faceted approach centering around education, collaboration and advocacy.
We educate the public, lawmakers, and the media about solutions to prevent gun deaths and injuries.
We collaborate with partners to advance gun safety initiatives at the state, local, and community level.
We advocate for common sense, evidence-based policies that reduce gun violence while respecting the rights of responsible gun owners.
Over the years, the Texas Gun Sense mission has expanded to include both legislative advocacy and community-based gun safety initiatives. This includes a broad range of activities that produce meaningful impact in our communities and achieve progress within and outside of the political landscape.
Every gun death is one too many, leaving behind shattered families and generations of trauma that spreads throughout communities. The following values guide our actions and efforts to honor victims and survivors and prevent future tragedies:
We put evidence above ideology, seeking nonpartisan solutions that are backed by data, critical thinking, and public consensus.
We bring together leaders and citizens from all backgrounds to create an engaged ecosystem led by a shared vision of a safer future for Texas communities.
We believe we must listen to one another and show respect for different viewpoints while continuing to find common ground toward sensible, proven solutions.
We recognize that gun violence disproportionately impacts historically marginalized communities and that it is critical that we include the voices of those who are most impacted in the work we do.
We work with partners with a vested interest in preventing gun deaths, including Veterans, medical professionals, domestic violence advocates, mental health experts, law enforcement, educators, and racial justice advocates.
We know that to successfully advance meaningful change, we need to be creative and nimble in our approach. We are always exploring innovative strategies to prevent gun violence across our communities.
Texas Gun Sense began in 2007 as Students for Gun-Free Schools in Texas, a non-profit organization founded by survivors of the Virginia Tech shooting, as well as family and friends of victims. Our members included students, parents, faculty, staff, administrators, and others who care about safe campuses.
In 2013, with added support and expanded membership, we became Texas Gun Sense, a nonprofit focused more broadly on public safety. In 2015, we launched the Texas Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, an intersectional group focused on impact across the state. Now, our organization also co-leads the Texas Invest In Us Coalition, an initiative to secure investments for community violence intervention with Community Justice Action Fund.
Preventing gun violence in all its forms is Nicole’s lifelong passion. After serving in an interim capacity, she officially took the reins as the new Executive Director of Texas Gun Sense in April of 2022, right before the tragic mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Nicole deftly managed an emotionally charged crisis-response protocol, pivoting the organization to focus on how TGS could be of immediate service to a community in need.
Nicole’s education as a social worker and 10 years of advocacy experience prepared her for this challenge. She is deeply devoted to moving the needle in Texas through coalition-building, legislative and grassroots advocacy, education, and community-based gun safety initiatives.
Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator
Driven by a dedication to public service, Jesse is eager to work on domestic policy issues that promote equity, sustainability, and public safety. For the past five years, she has gained experience working in policy research, coalition-building, and political organizing. This includes engagements with EveryTown for Gun Safety, The Conservation Fund, and the Beto For Texas Campaign. She is skilled in research, analysis, & communications.
Laura is an experienced researcher, writer, curriculum designer, and educator. She has successfully managed the full lifecycle of grants, including funding received from foundations, corporations and local, state, and federal governments. She draws on a wealth of experience to help build and manage a robust pipeline of grant funding opportunities to round out a diverse and healthy stream of revenue for Texas Gun Sense.
Board of Directors
Louis Wichers VICE CHAIR
Jaime Thompson SECRETARY
Chris Walton TREASURER
Bonnie Cook, MAS
Dr. Denise L Cooper Colonel (Ret) USAF
Kelsey Erickson Streufert
Dr. Juno Woods CO-FOUNDER
Frances Schenkkan CO-FOUNDER
Dr. Lauren Gambill
Charlotte Shivers Johnson
Dr. Mary-Lynn Rice-Lively
OUR WORK AT THE CAPITOL
We take advantage of every opportunity, small or large, to move the needle towards more protection from gun violence in Texas. We respect responsible gun owners while advocating for solutions that protect our communities, our families, and those most at risk of gun deaths and gun injuries. We make headway at the legislature through three primary activities:
OUR CURRENT POLICY PRIORITIES
OUR WORK IN THE COMMUNITY
We know that action at the legislature is not enough to change the texture of violence in Texas. This is why we actively work to develop community-based gun safety initiatives and education. Some of our community priorities include:
Firearm suicide prevention
Safe gun storage education
Voluntary gun storage access
Gun safety engagement for gun dealers
Co-leading the Texas Invest In Us Coalition
The Texas Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence is an alliance of organizations and experts working in gun violence prevention (GVP) and as intersectional advocates for mental health, domestic abuse, and other issues which touch our community. Our mission is to amplify the efforts of community advocates by serving as a collective, powerful voice for policy and systems change to prevent & reduce gun violence in Texas. We do this through education, training and mobilization.