About

At Texas Gun Sense, we are unwavering in our commitment to end gun violence. We advance safer gun laws at the Legislature. We leave no stone unturned as we work to make our communities safer. We advocate for a better and safer Texas, while protecting the rights of responsible gun owners.

Thank you for being a part of our community.

Our Mission

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.

OUR VISION

We envision a future in which all communities are safe from gun violence.

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.

star-swipe

OUR VALUES

star-swipe

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:

 

Evidence

We put evidence above ideology, seeking nonpartisan solutions that are backed by data, critical thinking, and public consensus.

Community

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.

Respect

We believe we must listen to one another and show respect for different viewpoints while continuing to find common ground toward sensible, proven solutions.

Justice

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.

Collaboration

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.

Creativity

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.

Our Story

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.

OUR TEAM

Nicole Golden

Executive Director

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.

Jesse Woche

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 Minnigerode

Grant Writer

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

Jon Brandt BOARD CHAIR

Louis Wichers VICE CHAIR

Jaime Thompson SECRETARY

Chris Walton TREASURER

Bonnie Cook, MAS

Dr. Denise L Cooper Colonel (Ret) USAF

David Dunn

Kelsey Erickson Streufert

Advisory Board

Dr. Juno Woods CO-FOUNDER

Frances Schenkkan CO-FOUNDER

Dr. Lauren Gambill

Charlotte Shivers Johnson

Dr. Mary-Lynn Rice-Lively

Nina Zilkha

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:

Supporting the creation and passage of new laws

In the wake of frequent mass shootings and rising gun violence rates, it's crucial that we take action at the legislative level to prevent further tragedies. Supporting the creation and passage of new laws for gun violence prevention protects our communities. The policies we are prioritizing at the legislative level include: adopting extreme risk protection orders, raising the legal age to purchase semi-automatic rifles (to match policy for handguns in Texas), requiring background checks on all gun sales, and establishing a path for domestic abusers to relinquish firearms.

Advocating for specific state-wide investments

State-wide investments in community violence intervention, safe gun storage, and firearm suicide prevention can make a significant impact in creating safe communities in Texas. By focusing on these initiatives, we can provide resources and support for individuals and communities at risk of gun violence. Funding an office of state-wide violence prevention would allow for budget allocations focused on implementing evidence-based programs, providing safe storage solutions or offering mental health services. Investing in these areas can help save lives.

Preventing dangerous or damaging laws from being passed

As the saying goes, sometimes the best offense is a good defense. We work to maintain the positive strides we have made in Texas by preventing the passage of dangerous laws. We advocate against the expansion of guns in schools and other sensitive places. In 2017 and 2019, we helped to defeat legislation supporting permitless carry. By staying strong on these fronts, we do not lose ground in our effort to build a safer Texas.

OUR CURRENT POLICY PRIORITIES

  • Raising the age for the legal purchase of semi-automatic rifles.
  • Adopting extreme risk protection orders.
  • Requiring background checks at every gun sale.
  • Providing a clear pathway for domestic abusers to relinquish firearms .
  • Investing in community violence intervention and safe gun storage education.
  • Preventing firearm suicide.
  • Opposing the expansion of guns in schools

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
expansion

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.

Issues

in gun violence prevention