Twenty-two states have no laws requiring adults to keep guns out of the hands of unattended small children.
Six months ago, as we all tried to process the horror of the Newtown massacre, many of us found each other on Facebook. We were friends, friends-of-friends, and total strangers. We were all parents, and like millions of others that week, we were struggling to cope with the tragedy and understand how our culture had reached this point, where the will to commit such inordinate violence and the means to do so had converged. Our empathy, grief and frustration led to the creation of this group, and today we celebrate with bitter sweetness the milestone of reaching 1,000 likes on Facebook. Not bad for a small organization of volunteers with full-time jobs, children to care for, and $0 budget — but still far from achieving the goals we have set for our group.
We remain committed to reducing gun violence in the U.S., including homicides, accidents and suicides. We also remain committed to being a reasonable, evidence-based voice in the national debate about this issue. Our group members’ politics are diverse, and several of the founding members and steering committee members own firearms. We have been cautious about teaming up with other organizations on individual initiatives because our mission is relatively unique in trying to bridge the more polarized “sides” in the national discussions about firearm safety and legislation.
In the short time since Parents Against Gun Violence formed, we have sponsored a Child Appreciation Day (in response to “Gun Appreciation Day”) that garnered national attention. We have spent many hours researching gun violence, from its causes and effects to the methods that might reduce it — and whether evidence suggests that those methods might (or might not) work. We have spoken with national media outlets and participated in a Huffington Post-sponsored discussion on the issue. We have created over a dozen graphics and “memes” that have been shared among tens of thousands on Facebook. (These are not snarky graphics that intend to demean gun owners; rather, they are designed to educate people about the facts related to gun violence in the U.S. and to make people think about where they stand on various issues.) Some members have also attended vigils and memorials as representatives of PAGV
As an organization, we are still in our infancy, and we know the road ahead is long and likely filled with obstacles. Yet many of our children are also still infants, and we’ve signed up for the hard work of raising them and keeping them safe. We’re in this fight for them, and we’re in it for the long haul. If this sounds like you, please join us.
In January, President Obama issued an executive order instructing the Department of Justice to analyze data on lost and stolen guns, and to publish a report on their findings. On Monday, the Justice Department released their report for 2012. It indicates that 190,342 guns were lost or stolen nationwide, with Texas leading the states with 18,874 lost or stolen guns. Nationwide, licensed firearms dealers reported 10,915 as “lost,” meaning those guns were in their inventory, and have just vanished.