There are issues I’ve written about so often and for so long that I feel like the statistics are etched on my soul. Numbers I know by heart. But No numbers fill me with despair like the ones related to gun violence in America. Today, on Gun Violence Awareness Day, I want to share them with you.
- 33,000 people die from gun violence each year.
- 12,000 of those deaths will be homicides.
- 7 children under the age of 19 will die from gun violence every day.
- 50 women are shot to death by a domestic partner every month.
- Black men are 14 times more likely to die from gun violence than non-hispanic white men.
Those numbers don’t tell a good story. But wait. It’s not over yet.
- Children are unintentionally shot, on average, every other day, sometimes by themselves or other children who gain access to an unsecured weapon.
- The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times likelier that a woman will end up dead.
These two numbers haunt me.
I’ve talked and written at length about securing guns so that children can’t access them. In fact, I wrote about it just last week. It’s something that I believe all parents should be talking about with other parents, to keep one another accountable for the safety of children. Respectful conversations about how guns are stored before letting kids play in a home can save lives.
But what can we do about the issue of domestic abusers having firearms?
In 2014, Americans for Responsible Solutions, the foundation started by former Representative Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, worked with the National Domestic Violence Hotline to build a toolkit for addressing state gun laws to better protect victims of domestic violence. Advocacy is a key step in making it harder for abusers to shoot their victims.
Other organizations like Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, and the Brady Campaign are also working on keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. Joining with them is as easy as getting on an email list.
Call state legislators and make then aware of the problem. Tell them what they can do to fix it. It won’t go away on its own. We all need to be there to prevent the next shooting of an abused person by their abuser.
Finally, you can participate in the #WearOrange campaign to raise awareness about just how deadly gun violence is.
You can be a part of the solution. I hope you will.