Posts Tagged ‘ gun control ’

The Year After Newtown: 100 Children Have Died in Unintentional Gun Shootings

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Gun on a wooden tableThere’s no doubt that the discussion about gun control and gun violence has increased since the Sandy Hook shootings in Newtown two years ago.

A new study (“Innocents Lost: A Year of Unintentional Child Gun Deaths“) just released by Everytown for Gun Safety reveals that between December 2012 and December 2013 at least 100 kids (younger than 14 years old) across the nation have died as a result of accidental shootings. Toddlers (ages 2 to 4) were more likely to die from self-inflicted shooting while school-age kids (ages 12 to 14) were more likely to die from a peer shooting.

The Huffington Post reports:

Unintentional shootings of children occurred most often in places familiar to those who were killed. Eighty-four percent of victims were killed in their home, the home of a friend, or the family car, according to the study. In 76 percent of the cases, the gun belonged to a parent or other family member.The killings occurred more often in small towns and rural areas than in cities. They occurred in 35 states.

The findings from Everytown came from an extensive review of news stories and subscription services in the 12 months following the December 2012 shooting in at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which resulted in the deaths of 20 students and six school employees. Researchers with the group followed up with law enforcement officials in cases where there was any ambiguity. If it remained unclear whether the shooting was accidental, the researchers did not count it.

As a percentage of total victims of gun violence, children who are unintentionally killed is quite small. But the 100 shootings over the course of the year averages out to almost two per week.

Part of the problem, Everytown argues, is poor education about the dangers of firearms and how to safely store them. The group advocates “well-tailored child safety” laws, including those “imposing criminal liability” for irresponsible gun storage. The report cites Florida’s “Child Access Prevention” law as one to emulate.

Reducing Gun Violence
Reducing Gun Violence
Reducing Gun Violence

 

Image: 9 mm gun on wooden table via Shutterstock

Add a Comment

Senate Hearings on Gun Violence Strike Nerves for Parents, Families

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Advocates on all sides of the national debate about gun violence were heard Wednesday when a Senate held an emotion-filled hearing on the issue.

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was seriously wounded in a gun assault in 2011, testified despite having difficulty speaking because of her injuries.  “Violence is a big problem,” she said, “Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something. It will be hard. But the time to act is now. You must act. Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you.”  Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, urged Congress to enact better mental health screenings and other gun control measures–emphasizing that they are both gun owners themselves.

On the other side of the issue, gun advocates testified that women and mothers in particular would be put in danger if strict gun control measures limit the number of bullets a gun can contain.  The Week magazine reports:

Gayle Trotter, a representative of the conservative Independent Women’s Forum, testified that military-style weapons with high-capacity clips are “the great equalizer for women,” and that “in a violent confrontation, guns reverse the balance of power.” She argued that “using a firearm with a magazine holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, a woman would have a fighting chance even against multiple attackers.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) concurred, saying, “Fifteen rounds in the hands of a mother trying to protect her children may not be enough.”

The hearing is Congress’ first major step toward revisiting gun legislation in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting and other recent gun violence tragedies.

Image: The U.S. Capitol, via Shutterstock

Add a Comment

Newtown Families Launch Violence Prevention Effort

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

The families of those who were killed in the December mass school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut held a news conference Monday to announce a violence prevention initiative they are organizing to prevent future tragedies like those their families endured.  More on “Sandy Hook Promise” from The New York Times:

In some of their first public statements since the shooting, which killed 20 children and 6 staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the families of 11 of the victims called for a national dialogue on issues of mental health, school safety and what their nonprofit group, called Sandy Hook Promise, described as “gun responsibility.”

The gathering came as President Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. prepared to unveil gun-control proposals as soon as Tuesday that are expected to call for a ban on the kind of assault weapon and high-capacity ammunition magazines used by Adam Lanza in the Newtown shooting.

But perhaps foreshadowing the difficult and contentious debates to come in Washington, group members declined to offer support for any specific measures, saying they needed time to educate themselves on the issues, and emphasizing that the debate must be broader than gun control.

“It’s only been 30 days, and for the past 30 days we’ve really been looking inward and supporting our community,” said Tim Makris, a founder of the group who had a fourth-grade son at the school, who was not hurt.

“We love the focus of the president,” he added, “and we love that the vice president reached out recently to talk directly to the families that chose to meet with him. But we don’t have an immediate response right now.”

Tom Bittman, another founder, who has children who previously attended the school, said that many of the group members were gun owners.

“We hunt, we target shoot,” he said. “We protect our homes. We’re collectors. We teach our sons and daughters how to use guns safely. We’re not afraid of a national conversation in our community and in Congress about responsibility and accountability. We know there are millions of people in this nation who agree with us.”

The news conference, which included other members of the Newtown community, was the first time a group of Sandy Hook families spoke publicly about the tragedy.

Image: News microphone, via Shutterstock

Add a Comment

Post-Newtown Debate Turns to Whether to Arm School Security

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

School officials across the country are contemplating the horrific events of last week’s shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and asking the question, how can we keep our schools safe? Parents tend to have very strong opinions on the broader question of whether teachers should ever be armed. But a more measured question–whether schools should hire armed security guards–is capturing more attention as the days unfold. The debate is playing out across social media, across dinner tables, and, as The New York Times reports, among school board members nationwide:

“Across the country, some 23,200 schools — about one-third of all public schools — had armed security staff in the 2009-10 school year, the most recent year for which data are available.

Now, in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, school officials across the nation are reviewing security protocols, including lockdown drills and building entry procedures, but also whether to hire more armed guards.

These questions arise amid a broader political and societal debate about gun control. While some people view the prospect of bringing additional guns into schools as fueling a culture of violence, others say children need the protection.

On Sunday, a former education secretary, William J. Bennett, indicated on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he would support such measures. “I’m not so sure I wouldn’t want one person in a school armed, ready for this kind of thing,” said Mr. Bennett, who served under President Ronald Reagan.

With national sentiment starting to move in favor of stricter gun laws, Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan vetoed a bill on Tuesday that state lawmakers had passed just a day before the shootings in Newtown, allowing registered gun owners to carry concealed weapons in schools. But also on Tuesday, a legislator in South Carolina introduced a similar bill that would allow school employees to carry guns in schools.

The question of whether to place trained security guards with guns in schools is left up to local districts. These officers are charged with protecting students not just from intruders but also from each other. They often conduct classes in preventing gang violence or bullying, as well as handle more prosaic tasks like issuing traffic tickets.

According to the Council of the Great City Schools, cities including Albuquerque, Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and St. Louis have armed officers in schools, either contracting with local police forces or recruiting their own dedicated security staff. Other cities, including Boston and New York, place unarmed security officers in schools. Sandy Hook Elementary did not have a security guard on campus.”

Image: School hallway, via Shutterstock

Add a Comment

Newtown Tragedy Reveals Parents’ Disagreements on Gun Control

Monday, December 17th, 2012

After the Newtown, Connecticut mass shooting, virtually every American has weighed in with their opinions about gun control and whether access to guns should be restricted or protected. Parents, as NBC news reports, are divided on the issue, perhaps surprisingly so:

“Some parents turned their shock and grief into arguments for stricter gun laws, but others say it’s time to think seriously about protecting Second Amendment rights, and maybe even arm teachers so that adults can defend students against attacks like this.

“I do feel that those kids would have been better protected, more lives would have been saved, if someone had had some type of weapon at the school,” says Jillian Mae Hagle, of Tahlequah, Okla., the mother of a 1-year-old.

Other parents say the school shooting is a wake-up call for stricter gun control.

Bruce Ditman, father of Mila, 7, and Sam, 3, lives about half hour from Newtown.

“I like guns,” he says. “We have Nerf swords and guns in my house and gun control has never been something I’ve been hung up on.” Until Friday, when he watched children the same age as his, and parents just like him, suffer unspeakable pain and loss. Now he says enough is enough.

“We, as a country, have lost our privileges and proven ourselves undeserving of the type of freedom and access to weaponry we think we deserve,” he explains.

For some parents, Friday’s tragedy awakened memories of their own loss. Elaine Rondeau of Marietta, Ga., said she sobbed and sobbed when she heard the news – just like she does every time she learns of another mass shooting.

She and her husband Gordon lost their 29-year-old daughter Renee on Halloween night in 1994, when she was held at gunpoint, robbed, and then strangled in her Chicago apartment.

“Because of this powerful weapon, this gun in their hands,” Elaine Rondeau says, “these criminals were able to hold our daughter captive, and kill her. If they hadn’t had the gun, they never would have been able to get in in the first place.”

Rondeau said the Connecticut tragedy makes her frustrated that, in her opinion, there’s been no real progress on gun control since her daughter’s death 18 years ago.

In fact, Connecticut has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation.  Under Connecticut law, people under 21 are prohibited from purchasing or carrying handguns. Adam Lanza was 20. There are conflicting reports about how many weapons Lanza used during the shooting and how he got them. At one point, law enforcement officials told NBC News that Lanza had four handguns while he stalked the halls of Sandy Hook, but that could not be confirmed. It appears he carried at least two 9mm handguns, in addition to a rifle, which was the primary weapon.”

For more about the Sandy Hook tragedy, visit the following on Parents.com:

Image: Gun with safety switch, via Shutterstock

Add a Comment