LITTLE RIVER, SC – Chip and Mylissa Bellamy started the Matthew Bellamy Project after their 11 year-old son Matthew was accidentally shot and killed by his friend.
“Matthew’s friend picked it up and turned to show it to him with his finger on the trigger, accidentally shooting Matthew in the chest,” said Mylissa Bellamy.
Bellamy described Matthew as a happy little boy, who loved the outdoors and playing soccer. The accident left her heartbroken and shocked.
“My husband is a gun owner, our children have hunted with him,”she said.
Bellamy said gun safety was never taken lightly in her house. She assumed other people knew better than to leave a loaded gun lying around the house.
“I don’t think people intentionally leave guns where children can be harmed, they just don’t think about it.”
Mylissa Bellamy made it her mission to educate. The Bellamy Project offers free gun locks and gun safety courses for kids.
“We just feel like it’s never too early to start that conversation. it’s needs to be an ongoing conversation throughout their childhood,” she stated.
According to Bellamy, more than 1/3 of all homes in the U.S. have guns.
“Even if you don’t own a gun, there’s a strong chance your child will end up in a home where there are firearms,” said Bellamy.
She uses a program that focuses on four steps, stop, don’t touch, leave the area and tell an adult. Students also get hands on experience with specially designed guns and dummy ammunition.
“We pray everyday that our story touches somebody and a child is saved,” she said.
While it won’t bring Matthew back, Bellamy said she’s found her purpose.
“We don’t know how long it will go, but for now this is what’s we’re supposed to be doing.”
The Matthew Bellamy Project will have another kid’s gun safety course on October 22. The organization also offers a ladies only course on October 13.