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Parents of Las Vegas girl killed in accidental shooting announce National SAFE Day

For Brooklynn Mohler’s 19-year-old brother, stepping inside the Las Vegas trauma center where his sister died after an accidental shooting brought back painful memories.

“I saw my dad hold my sister and I collapsed right in that corner. This is the first time I’ve been back since that day and I still remember it picture clear,” Jacob Mohler said.

He and his parents, Jacob and Darchel Mohler of Henderson, returned to the University Medical Center’s trauma unit Saturday morning for a meaningful reason — the first National SAFE Day in Brooklynn’s name.

Thirteen-year-old Brooklynn was accidentally shot in the back June 4, 2013, by her best friend, who was showing her an unsecured gun kept in a kitchen cabinet. It was the last day of classes at Neal Elementary School, and she was waiting at her friend’s house to be picked up by her father, according to previous reports.

“It is a bittersweet morning,” Darchel Mohler said, adding she hopes to turn “the worst day of her life” into something positive.

Earlier, she accepted a proclamation from the National Day Calendar announcing the first National SAFE Day and explained its goals to a crowd of about 50 state, city and other officials gathered at the center. Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman has also issued a proclamation for SAFE Day in Las Vegas to be held every June 4.

“We can co-exist with guns and exercise our Second Amendment rights but it comes with great responsibility. It begins with adults, we have to hold each other accountable,” she said in a breaking voice. “Let this day June 4, 2016, be a national reminder to always be SAFE.”

The campaign’s acronym refers to encouraging parents and others to follow the SAFE guidelines:

Secure all firearms.

Ask the question about unsecured firearms in the homes your child visits.

Frequently talk to your children about the dangers of firearms.

Educate and empower others to be SAFE.

The Mohler family had earlier established The Brooklynn Mae Mohler Foundation and has annually held a 5K run and other events to raise gun safety awareness.

Brooklynn hated guns because she was an animal lover and associated them with animal killing, her father said. She had been educated to stay away from firearms, which is why the bullet entered her back as she walked away from it, he added.

Firearm advocate associations have programs, such as the BE AWARE program, that focus on safe gun handling and storage.

When asked if the family would ever consider partnering with firearm advocate associations, he said, “We have tried to speak with several organizations, NRA included, multiple emails, multiple phone calls, and they don’t want to talk to us.”

Though a background check would have not prevented their daughter’s death, the Mohlers support Question 1, a measure on the Nov. 8 ballot. If passed, the measure would require firearm transfers to go through a licensed gun dealer. Certain transfers, including temporary transfers and those between immediate family members, would be exempted

He said he is not opposed to recreational shooting and used to be an avid target shooter. “I used to load my ownwwammunition and I just don’t do any of that anymore. I still have my firearms in the safe, but it’s lost its allure for me.”

The need for quick access should never rise above the need to keep children safe, he said.

Contact Tatiana Villamil at lvillamil@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0264. Find @tatianavr92 on Twitter.

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