Pediatricians: Gun Violence Is a Public Safety Issue

"I think we can be honest brokers," says Dr. Lolita McDavid, medical director for child advocacy and protection at University Hospitals, part of Case Western Reserve University's school of medicine in Cleveland.

"We have to have a collectively louder voice," Dr. Danielle Laraque, who chairs the pediatrics department at Maimonides Infants and Children's Hospital in Brooklyn, told a meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. "What we need is a call to action, to really look at how we can change public policy that is not often affected by data."

They don't always get a friendly reception. Just two weeks before the doctors arrived, Congress had scuttled what gun-control advocates had considered a modest bill to expand background checks for gun sales.

Congress had already dropped a wider measure pushed by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden after the December shootings of 20 schoolchildren and six adults in Newtown, Conn.

Image: Gun trigger, via Shutterstock

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