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Gun Violence Prevention

Federal priorities to keep children safe

​​​The AAP has been involved for decades in advocacy efforts to address the detrimental effects of gun violence in children’s lives as a public health issue. The AAP continues to engage in a sustained advocacy effort focused on engaging Congress, the White House, partner organizations, pediatricians, and the public in an effort to enact and improve federal policies aimed at reducing and preventing gun violence.

AAP’s top priorities in federal gun violence prevention advocacy are:

  • Stronger gun laws. Enactment of common-sense firearm legislation, including stronger background checks, banning assault weapons, addressing firearm trafficking, and encouraging safe firearm storage.

  • Opposing legislation to weaken current gun laws. “Concealed carry reciprocity” legislation would make it easier to carry locked, loaded and hidden firearms in public. Forcing all states to accept concealed carry permits from other states would undermine the laws of states with strong requirements for concealed carry.

  • Violence prevention programs. Support for programs addressing the needs of at-risk children and children exposed to violence, including those at CDC and DOJ.

  • Research. Funding for gun violence prevention research and public health surveillance, including $50 million to support gun violence prevention research at CDC, and continued funding for the National Violent Death Reporting System to all 50 states.

  • Physician counseling. Protecting the crucial role of physicians in providing anticipatory guidance to patients about the health hazards of firearms.

  • Mental Health Access. Ensuring children and their families have access to appropriate mental health services, particularly to address the effects of exposure to violence.

Learn more:

  • AAP policy statement on firearm safety

  • AAP online resource page: "How Pediatricians Can Advocate​ for Children’s Safety in Their Communities”

  • Information for parents on how to talk to children about disastrous events