The American Academy of Pediatrics is every family’s go-to site for advice about what is or isn’t safe for their kids. The AAP tag line is “Dedicated to the Health of All Children,” so yeah, we trust them. They keep us informed about the dangers of alcohol during pregnancy and tobacco use in the home. They advocate for healthy living and community access to health care. They have an opinion about basically everything that goes on around our children.
The American public usually follows their advice. But something tells me they won’t this time.
This week, researchers representing the AAP called for the strictest possible regulations of gun sales as well as more education on the dangers of having a gun in a home where a child is present. Specifically, these are their recommendations:
Consumer product regulations regarding child access, safety and design of guns
Child access prevention laws that enforce safe storage practices including the use of trigger locks, lock boxes, and gun safes
Regulation of the purchase of guns, including mandatory waiting periods, closure of the gun show loophole, mental health restrictions for gun purchases, and background checks
Restoration of the ban on the sale of assault weapons to the general public
It seems no matter how many studies surface about the root of gun violence, many still prefer to stick to believing that “people kill people.”
While the rate of firearm-related deaths has declined over the past two decades, it is still one of the top three causes of death in American youth, far exceeding the rates in other high-income countries. An estimated 38 percent of American households own guns; in gun-owning households with children under age 18, many of those guns are stored loaded and/or unlocked. The presence of guns in the home increases the risk of death from suicide or homicide.
So making guns easily accessible to our kids by having them around the house leads to gun violence? Shocking. It turns out that guns do kill people, and keeping them in the house is very dangerous for our children:
“Firearm injuries are often fatal – there are few second chances,” said Marion Burton, MD, FAAP, immediate past president of the AAP. “Young children are curious, and are often unable to remember or follow safety rules. Older children and teens naturally tend to be moody and impulsive. When you combine these traits with access to guns, the consequences can be tragic and permanent.”
I hate to say that gun owners are notoriously stubborn when it comes to any kind of regulation – but they are. Here are a few comments from a site that posted about the AAP’s concerns this week:
“I wonder how the members of the AAP would react to if the National Rifle Association (NRA) or Gun Owners of America (GOA) were to begin advising gun shops and shooting range owners to dispense medical advice promoting homeopathy and natural food supplements. Such activity would certainly be as valid as medical doctors pretending to be qualified to dispense firearms advice or actors and actresses providing prescription recommendations.”
“Every one of these doctors should be made to read this article, http://www.news9.com/story/19858704/12-year-old-girl-shoots-intruder-during-home-invasion
Then forced to explain to the girl’s mother face to face why it would be better for her to bury her daughter than have a gun in her home!”
With even Presidential nominees dodging important questions about gun control, and blaming violence on things like single-parent households – it seems unlikely that as a country we will be following the advice of the AAP any time soon.