POSITION STATEMENT ON THE PREVENTION OF FIREARM VIOLENCE
The tragic and preventable deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary school demand action on the part of all those who care for children. Constructive action can and must be taken to prevent future deaths of children due to firearms. Firearm violence in the United States is a public health emergency.
Thirty-eight percent of American households own guns, and many of these households have children under 18 years of age and accessible firearms and ammunition. Children in the United States are 10 times more likely to be killed by firearms than in other developed countries. In Connecticut, from 2006-2010 there were 894 deaths, 1,261 hospital admissions and 1,645 emergency department resulting from firearm injuries. The Connecticut Children’s Pediatric Trauma Program and Injury Prevention Center has developed the following evidence-based recommendations as opportunities for common sense gun policy reforms in Connecticut and the United States.
1. Federal regulation of gun purchases that would include mandatory waiting periods, closure of the gun show and internet sales loopholes, mental health restrictions for gun purchases, and more comprehensive background checks.
2. Renew the federal assault weapons ban that expired a decade ago and close the loopholes in Connecticut’s assault weapons ban.
3. Ban high-capacity magazines.
4. Allow federal public health agencies to study firearm violence and make recommendations on evidence-based ways to prevent firearm violence.
Those endorsing this position statement pledge to support common sense firearm policy reforms in Connecticut and the United States.
1. Connecticut Injury Surveillance System (CISS) includes death certificate data (CT Dept of Public Health), hospital admission and emergency department visit data (ChimeData, Connecticut Hospital Association). CISS is operated by the Injury Prevention Center, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center
2. Firearm-related injuries affecting the pediatric population. Council on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention Executive Committee. Pediatrics 2012:130;e1416
3. Kellermann AL, Rivara FP. Silencing the science on gun research. JAMA (http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1487470)
4. Palfrey JS, Palfrey S. Preventing gun deaths in children. NEJM (http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMp1215606)
Brendan Campbell, MD, MPH Kevin Borrup, JD, MPA