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NRA convention speaker shares her unique gun violence story

Posted at 2:29 PM, Apr 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-12 17:20:31-04

INDIANAPOLIS — On the heels of this latest mass shooting -- guns and gun laws will be front and center in Indianapolis this week.

The NRA convention returns to the city for the first time since 2019.

It runs this Friday through Sunday at the Indiana Convention Center.

Governor Eric Holcomb, Mike Pence and former President Trump are some of the featured speakers.

A woman, who’s life was shattered by gun violence, will also speak this weekend.

Her stalker shot and killed her husband in a busy restaurant in Tennessee.

Typically-- victims of gun violence advocate for stricter gun laws, but this tragedy has moved her to fight harder for gun rights and change laws around the country.

Nikki Goeser was so in love with her husband.

“He was just a very loving thoughtful, happy-go-lucky person,” Goeser said. “Ben was always smiling. and I still miss him very very much. It's been 14 years now.

14 years since a man, who had been stalking Nikki, approached her in a restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee.

“He pulled a .45 from a shoulder holster under his jacket and shot my husband seven times in front of myself and everyone in the middle of that busy restaurant.”

Despite living through that gun violence tragedy, she's focused on sharing her story and her reasons why she feels gun free zones are a danger.

In fact, that restaurant was a gun free zone.

“Because of Tennessee state law at that time, I had to leave my legal, permitted firearm that I normally carry for self-defense locked inside of my vehicle out in the parking lot,” Goeser said. “I'll probably wonder for the rest of my life if i could have prevented that. Of course, I'll never know because I was denied a chance. I was stalked and defenseless.”

“Stalked and Defenseless" is the title of Goeser's book, detailing the account of that deadly encounter.

Goeser said she almost immediately decided to speak out in support of the basic human right of self-defense.

That will be her message at the NRA Convention this weekend.

“I will be speaking specifically on the dangers of gun free zones and how they make good law-abiding people completely helpless to go and try to stop these attacks.”

Goeser will spend time in her presentation speaking about last year’s incident that left three people dead at the Greenwood Park Mall – another gun free zone.

A shopper, Eli Dicken, who happened to be carrying a gun at the time in the mall, shot and killed the gunman.

“I think more and more people are realizing that just because you slap a sign on your front door saying 'no guns allowed', it's kind of an invite for evil to go and harm good people there, because they know no one can defend themselves,” Goeser said.

Studies on mass shootings in gun free zones remain "inconclusive."

Researchers from all over the country… including Harvard, Columbia university libraries and the Rand Corporation, a non-profit with extensive research and analysis on gun issues, all essentially draw the same conclusion:

There are not enough studies done on gun-free zones to point to an increase or decrease in shootings in these designated areas.

Goeser is using her story to change laws in states around the country.

She has testified before lawmakers in Tennessee and Ohio and was instrumental in the passage of the Tennessee restaurant carry law and the "lifetime order of protection" law, which removes the need for victims to routinely re-file protective orders.

She believes her story and her work can save lives.

“I never want anyone to ever go through something like that,” Goeser said. “I believe in the basic human right of self-defense.”

Goeser is the Executive Director of the Crime Prevention Research Center --- a non-profit that examines laws across the nation and how those laws impact crime rates.

She will make three presentations during this week’s NRA Convention.

Nikki's stalker still sends her letters from prison and he is scheduled for early release because of good behavior.