If we have learned anything at all from COVID, it’s that a failure in public health messaging has dire consequences. The same can be applied to the discussion of gun safety. The word “control” may be at the center of why we cannot find common ground around legislation to improve public safety.
The concerning and confusing messaging around both complicated and divisive issues has added to the disruptions in public health implementation of mitigation strategies. The bottom line is public safety is under siege from multiple fronts. The politicization of public health has created a divide so deep that there seems no common ground, not even when our children’s health is at risk. This is true for both the epidemic of violence & hate, made lethal by unfettered access to weapons, as well as COVID & Monkey Pox and whatever else is coming down the road.
We have heard the mantra that “words matter” over and over again, but why do we keep making the same mistakes when crafting messages. For example, can we stop calling proposed legislation regarding firearm safety “gun control?” The word “control” instantly creates polarization and leaves little room for finding common ground. Where do we have shared values when it comes to safety, especially the safety of our children?
The following data points are retrieved from Brady:
DAILY GUN VIOLENCE IMPACTING CHILDREN AND TEENS (1-17)
Every day, 22 children and teens (1-17) are shot in the United States. Among those:
- 5 die from gun violence
- 3 are murdered
- 17 children and teens survive gunshot injuries
- 8 are intentionally shot by someone else and survive
- 2 children and teens either die from gun suicide or survive an attempted gun suicide
- 8 children and teens are unintentionally shot in instances of family fire — a shooting involving an improperly stored or misused gun found in the home resulting in injury or death
ANNUAL GUN VIOLENCE IMPACTING CHILDREN AND TEENS (AGES 1-17)
Every year, 7,957 children and teens are shot in the United States. Among those:
- 1839 children and teens die from gun violence
- 992 are murdered
- 6,294 children and teens survive gunshot injuries
- 2,788 are intentionally shot by someone else and survive
- 693 die from gun suicide
- 166 survive an attempted gun suicide
- 10 are killed by legal intervention
- 101 are shot by legal intervention and survive
- 99 are killed unintentionally
- 2,893 are shot unintentionally and survive
- 38 die but the intent was unknown
- 380 are and survive shot but the intent is unknown
Have you read enough data points to see that we need to focus on gun safety measures. This is not controlling guns, only ensuring those who choose to have firearms safely store them away from children and those who intend to inflict harm on themselves or others. How is that not a shared value? The safety of the person, the family, the community, and the public at large, should be at the center of policy when it comes to gun legislation. Gun violence is now the #1 leading cause of death in children, we must take action!