The Newtown, CT, killings of Friday, December 14, 2012, constitute the second worst mass shooting in US history, and have the dubious distinction of doubling the death toll from the Columbine High massacre. At the same time, they form part of a pattern: mass killings are on the rise in the US; five of the 11 deadliest killings in the US have happened since 2007. And children in the US are threatened not only by high-profile, headline-grabbing incidents of mass violence. Over 31,000 people in the US died from firearms-related incidents in 2009, 1,337 of them children. A 1997 study by the Centers for Disease Control found that “the homicide rate for children in the United States was five times higher” than that for children in 25 other high-income countries combined.
This is unacceptable. As parents, as a coalition of adults who care for children in one of the richest, most developed countries in the world, we have to stand up and say that we can do better as a society. Every one of our children deserves the right to graduate from high school, to choose a career, to have their own children, to grow old.
We are conservatives, liberals and moderates, gun owners and non-gun owners. What unites us is a conviction that there are many common-sense policies that can reduce gun violence, and especially the risk of harm to children. For too long, the debate has been captured by a polarized, all-or-nothing struggle. It is time for the debate to change.
Hours after the Newtown, CT, killings, a coalition of parents and concerned adults across the US started informal discussions on Facebook. The outcome is this group. We are committed to:
- Advocating a re-centered debate, focused on policies that scientific evidence and reasoned dialogue show have the greatest potential to reduce firearm-related deaths among children.
- Finding and disseminating scientific, peer-reviewed research on the causes of gun violence and gun accidents, and on how to reduce both.
- Advocating for policy change. We will focus on the kinds of policies that we believe can build support across the political spectrum, policies supported by evidence and debate.
If you share our goals, we invite you to join us. We are hopeful that there are tens of millions of American parents and other concerned adults who can find common ground for dialogue, and practicable policies that can make our country safer. Let’s talk about what policies have the greatest chances of reducing the likelihood of a tragedy like the Newtown, CT, shooting from ever happening again. And then let’s demand that our elected representatives make these changes.
If you are interested in this group, please find us on Facebook, or email admin [at] parentsagainstgunviolence [dot] com.