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Kayla Austin, the Bison behind My Gun's Been Moved at Howard University

The sophomore is an activist, artist and student who created My Gun's Been Moved and garnered national attention

The sophomore from Chicago is advocates for gun safety and her patent has taken the nation by storm

Growing up in Chicago, sophomore Kayla Austin says gun violence existed in her community. However, she felt that there was not much conversation regarding gun violence, specifically against children and teens, and its impact. “And so through doing research, I realized how many shooting [victims] were kids, with a parent’s firearm in the home,” Austin says. 

Austin made it a point to pour her passion for her community’s safety into something that could enact change. 

According to a study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine, in 2016, firearm-related incidents were the second-highest leading cause of death for children and adolescents in the United States, accounting for 15% of all deaths within this group. 

Now I'm the ‘My Gun’s Been Moved activist’ and I feel like at Howard people are going to support me no matter what.

At 12 years old, Austin developed the idea for My Gun’s Been Moved, a gun safety device limiting gun-related incidents within the home by notifying users of their firearms’ location. By 13, she had already begun the patenting process.  

In typical visionary fashion, her endeavors are not confined to a single space. The 19-year-old trailblazer creates spaces for herself at the points where her interests converge as a gun safety activist, entrepreneur, photographer, videographer, creative director, and more. 

Austin’s goal, however, is not just to sell a product, but start a conversation. Through her work, she hopes to encourage voting for gun reform and teach communities how to ask important questions to keep their children safe through speaking engagements with organizations like Microsoft, Jack and Jill of America, and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. This includes partnering with parent-teacher associations,  schools, and  firearm safety resources to families to extend the reach of information. 

Austin has found national support from those that have witnessed the need for the kind of gun safety technology, media, and education that My Gun’s Been Moved  provides. In November 2022, Pharrell Williams handed Austin the $25,000 Black Ambition prize to further fund the initiative. One month later, she received the honor of being selected as one of Teen Vogue’s 21 under 21 for her work as a gun safety advocate. This Women’s History Month, Austin’s accomplishments were highlighted in a Charter Day campaign for Jordan. Her work continues to be featured on outlets like ABC 7 Chicago, Black Enterprise, and Shoutout LA.  

Around The Mecca, Austin has garnered the attention and support of peers, faculty, and alumni. 

“Last year I was known as the ‘photographer girl,’ and people thought that was all I did. And now I'm the ‘My Gun’s Been Moved activist’ and I feel like at Howard people are going to support me no matter what. The alumni as well. Everyone is very giving. Iron sharpens iron on this campus,” she says.  

The young entrepreneur shared her fondness for Howard’s culture, crediting much of her current outlook to surrounding herself with other Black people who are ambitious, creative, and supportive. 

“There are a lot of programs and opportunities that are only open to us. And so I think freshman year I made it a mission to try to take advantage of as much as possible and that has helped me build my network as a creative and as an entrepreneur. So I can definitely thank Howard for that and for having some alumni that are always willing to give. Howard is definitely always in the room, no matter where you go.”