The number of firearm-related deaths in children has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. Children are shot in their homes, in their neighborhood, their school, their church and other public places.
This year, Texas leads the nation in the number of unintentional shootings or accidental shootings among children who found a loaded firearm through July 2019. The source of this information is Everytown for Gun Safety, 2019.
Firearm-related deaths are a public health crisis. Texas has a public health crisis because of gun violence. The United States has a public heath crisis because of gun violence. As with all issues of health that cause mutilating injuries and death, adults need to look at the causes and solutions in a careful and thoughtful manner.
The American Pediatric Surgical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Texas Pediatric Society have all issued statements and recommendations to address this national public health crisis. These health professionals feel strongly that this is a health issue — and not an issue of politics or personal freedom.
They suggest Texas lawmakers and national lawmakers should implement common sense firearm safety policies. These include the following:
1. Enact a strong, effective assault weapon ban;
2. Universal background checks for all firearm transactions;
3. Safe gun storage with legislation limiting child access to in-home guns and Strong Child Access Prevention laws;
4. Improve access to mental health services;
5. Research and treatment for survivors; and
6. Research and funding for gun safety and prevention of mutilating injuries and death.
We live in a democracy. We value our children. We recognize that we have a problem and indeed have a crisis. We need to be thoughtful and determined.
If our elected officials don’t have the courage to start to address this crisis, none of us will be able to go to the store, to a football game or to a movie without being afraid.
Contact your elected officials to let them know what you feel they should be doing about this crisis. You can ask why the U.S. Senate hasn’t taken up the bill HR 8 passed by the House for universal background checks. You can ask why the firearms safety policies outlined by Gov. Greg Abbott weren’t addressed in the most recent legislation.
Please don’t become numb to this overwhelming crisis. The children of Texas need your help. Demand action.