NEW YORK -- The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence initially pressed for Plaxico Burress to go to prison on a weapon possession charge after he accidentally shot himself in the leg in 2008.
On Monday night, the New York Jets wide receiver spoke at the organization's annual fundraiser in Manhattan.
Burress said that as his life as an NFL star was unraveling, he thought: "Let what happened to me serve a higher purpose."
He later contacted the Brady Center, which was thrilled to welcome him as an ally in trying to teach about the stark consequences of carrying guns.
"If I can save one life, keep one kid from having a firearm, then I think the higher purpose was served," Burress told the audience, which gave him a hearty ovation at the end of his speech.
At a news conference before his speech, Burress said that when he contemplated what he would have done if he ever found himself needing to use that gun, he realized how foolish it was to carry one.
"Just the thought of that, it just gives you goose bumps to think about it," he said. "It was a false sense of security because I couldn't see myself actually pulling the trigger."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press