FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — 2 ½ years ago, Whitney Austin walked into the 5/3 Bank tower in downtown Cincinnati and left on a gurney. She was shot 12 times but lived to tell the story. Now she’s closing in on completing a huge chapter of her next story.
Austin was joined Wednesday in Frankfort by State Senators Paul Hornback (R – Shelbyville) and Morgan McGarvey (D - Louisville) as she inches closer to placing a piece of gun reform legislation in the hands of our elected officials. Her husband was also here, along with Mark Barden, whose son Daniel was one of the 26 victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting. Barden has been very visible in the years since the shooting, and he runs the “Sandy Hook Promise” Foundation, which aims to protect kids from gun violence.
“I won’t ever be the same,” he said of how Daniel’s death changed his life.
CARR, or Crisis Aversion and Rights Retention legislation, will serve to help gun owners and enhance, not hinder, their 2nd Amendment rights. If a gun owner is experiencing a period of mental health issues or is dealing with a crisis, authorities can intervene and legally transfer ownership of that gun to a trusted relative or friend. Ultimately, the gun would be returned to the owner once counseling and mediation have been completed.
“Being given the opportunity to press pause and gain access to the help they need to get better. They’ll never see their 2nd Amendment rights terminated,” Austin said of the potential language in the bill.
While Austin is nearing the finish line, it’s not likely CARR will be a part of this year’s legislative session.
“Senator Hornback has talked about this. Sometimes it takes 3, 4, 5, or 6 years for difficult issues to come to fruition, so I’m not concerned about the timeline. I’m concerned about the end goal,” Austin stated of her willingness to wait for the CARR Act to become Kentucky law.
“We are going to make change in Kentucky. And we are going to stand on the side of gun owners and get them the help they need,” Austin further explained.
She survived 12 bullets, so she’s more than prepared to see this to the finish line.
“I have a very, very deep well of gratitude that will never allow me to give up,” Austin said.