“Just before the dismissal bell rang, 17 children and adults were shot and killed and 15 were injured inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. We find ourselves once again filled with grief and horror, and we mourn alongside those impacted by the shooting. As our hearts are in Parkland, our eyes are on Congress.”
“This is the eighteenth school shooting in 2018, the equivalent of one every two and a half days so far this year. Shootings have an indelible impact on entire communities, on the families who lost children and loved ones, and on the children who survived. Columbine. Virginia Tech. Newtown. Orlando. Las Vegas. And now, Parkland. Children are dying from gun violence and Congress is failing to act. Every one of our 100 U.S. senators and all 435 U.S. representatives bear a responsibility to take meaningful action to protect our children, our families, and our communities. Our elected leaders cannot continue to fail at this most essential task.
“We can start by working to advance meaningful legislation that keeps children safe. The American Academy of Pediatrics advocates for stronger state and federal gun laws that protect children, including a ban on assault weapons like the one used in yesterday’s school shooting. We also call for stronger background checks, solutions addressing firearm trafficking, and encouraging safe firearm storage. We will also continue to work to ensure that children and their families have access to appropriate mental health services, particularly to address the effects of exposure to violence.
“Although these mass shootings command our attention, our children remain at risk daily for suicide, homicide, and unintentional injury because of the current policy regarding access to guns in the United States. Gun violence is a public health threat to children and one the American Academy of Pediatrics will continue to take on, in state capitals across the country and in the halls of Congress. Parents across the United States send their children to school every day, and hope and trust they will be safe. As long as children continue to be injured and killed by guns in this country, pediatricians will not rest in our pursuit to keep them safe.”
2/15/2018 By: Colleen Kraft, MD, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics