Want to stump your friends and family? Ask them what they think is the number one threat to kids’ lives today.
Some will say cancer. Others may say drowning or car crashes. Few will get the answer right because it’s pretty hard to fathom.
The most recent statistics show that more American children die from gunshot wounds than from any other cause.
It’s a stark reality. Guns aren’t just weapons. They’re a public health crisis.
What we can do — together
Many of us are hungry to do something, anything, to protect kids from gun violence. We at Children’s Minnesota are teaming up with hospitals near and far. Recently we joined a national coalition of hospitals working to reduce gun injury and death in our kids.
Closer to home, we’re partnering with health care systems across the state as well as community organizations in our own backyard.
Out of that work, we have two immediate action steps you can take:
- Attend our upcoming gun buyback event Oct. 28-29 at the Colin Powell Center in Minneapolis. The event will address many issues that contribute to the pervasiveness of gun violence. Along with a variety of community resources, there will be a “no questions asked” opportunity for people to exchange guns for gift cards.
- If you’re a parent, start asking a simple question when your child visits friends and family: Is there an unlocked gun in the house? Here’s some good advice on how to approach the conversation. It may feel awkward at first, but it could save a life.
The bigger picture
These are two steps in the right direction. But they’re not a substitute for larger reform. Our work won’t be done until we accomplish what the American Academy of Pediatrics has been advocating for years:
- An assault weapons ban
- Stronger background checks for all purchases
- More education on safe gun storage
- More funds for gun violence prevention research
At Children’s Minnesota, we’re also prioritizing gun violence prevention in our advocacy work with city and state officials. We have one goal. To reach the day when no child has to visit the hospital with a gunshot wound ever again.