AAP Statement on Fifth Anniversary of Shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School
Friday, December 15, 2017
The following is a statement from Fernando Stein, MD, FAAP, AAP President.
“Every day, 91 people in the U.S. are killed by firearms. Equally startling, 91 percent of the children who die from gun violence in the entire world are in the United States. As we mark the five-year anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, when 20 children and six adults were gunned down, these numbers remind us that gun violence is in everyone’s hometown.
“These are our children, our brothers, sisters, parents, friends and neighbors who are dying. As pediatricians, these are the patients whose gunshot injuries we treat and whose lingering stress, sadness and anxiety we help manage. These are the parents we attempt to console after the tragic and sudden death of a child, and we often fail, because that is not a loss that any parent is prepared to confront.
“If we had a virus that was killing 91 people and injuring hundreds of others every day, we would declare a public health crisis, and devote the combined resources of our medical, scientific and governmental institutions to solving it. Explaining away gun violence as a problem of politics is not only wrong, its premise has stopped us from developing effective solutions to prevent it.
“As pediatricians, we counsel parents on proper storage of firearms and do everything in our power to keep children safe. We also depend on our elected leaders to use the same common-sense approach to advance comprehensive gun violence prevention policies. We need stronger background checks and a ban on assault weapons. We need federal research and surveillance to better understand the roots of gun violence and how to prevent it.
“We know what works, but mass shootings, suicides, homicides and other acts of gun violence will continue until we enact meaningful solutions to stop gun violence in its tracks. As we commemorate the five-year anniversary of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, we call on our federal legislators and the White House to prioritize our children’s health and safety by passing policies to prevent gun violence in our country.”