Pediatric Gun Violence: A Public Health Crisis That Demands Pediatrician Advocacy

As gun safety advocates, we are fighting every day for policies and legislation to tackle gun violence, a national epidemic that is the leading cause of death for children and teens in the United States. Gun violence is a driver of significant racial health inequities in the US, with Black youth burdened by a firearm homicide rate 14 times higher than their white (non-Latino) peers. Moms Demand Action was formed in 2012 to push for gun safety legislation in state houses across the country and in Congress. Although our movement is running strong, with our grassroots army of concerned mothers, survivors, gun owners, faith leaders, and veterans, we need everyone in this fight alongside us. Pediatricians in particular are essential in our quest to prevent gun violence. Pediatricians ask young patients and their caregivers questions about tobacco use, seat belt use, and other safety practices to ensure that they can grow up to be as healthy as possible. Yet, in our polarized political environment, health care professionals often shy away from asking questions about firearms that could help us keep young patients and their families safe. In fact, the percentage of pediatricians who report that they are comfortable asking about firearms in the home during patient encounters has decreased over time . That silence has a cost. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data from 2019 illustrate that firearm injuries have surpassed motor vehicle collisions as the leading cause of death among youth ages 0–19. The COVID-19 pandemic […]

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