It was the Chapter’s Gun Violence Prevention initiative that led to the invitation for me to speak at March for Our Lives-Long Island event, along with former Congressman Steve Israel, family members of students killed at Parkland, clergy, organizers, students, and a representative from the NAACP. Police estimated around 3,000 people attended the event. Passionate speeches were met with equally impassioned chants and cheers from attendees.
Living in New York, already protected by stringent gun laws, our Chapter is most urgently advocating for a robust safe storage act and legislation to increase the waiting period for gun purchase. We are hopeful safer gun storage will decrease the number of accidental deaths and teen suicides, while an increased waiting period to buy guns will reduce crimes of passion.
Since our discussion at that first meeting with Long Island March for Our Lives student organizers, many now see the role of pediatricians in a new light.
Beyond caring for young victims of gun injuries, pediatricians’ pledge to help bolster the role science can play in crafting gun violence prevention legislation
was especially well received.
Newly created at the national level, the
AAP’s Gun Safety and Injury Prevention Research Initiative
will bring experts from around the country together to tackle firearm injuries as a public health epidemic. The young people at the March understood the urgent need to approach gun violence as a public health issue, just like crib safety, highway deaths, and ATV injuries, and they responded with some of the loudest cheers at the event.
But it’s these young people, in Huntington, Washington, and throughout the country, who deserve the applause. By holding our elected leaders accountable for their deadly inaction on gun violence, as they vow to do in force on election day, they can accomplish what previous generations did not.
The views expressed in this article are those of the authors, and not necessarily those of the American Academy of Pediatrics.