October 02, 2017
3 min read

Mass shooting in Las Vegas prompts pediatricians to promote gun safety

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On the evening of October 1, the deadliest mass shooting event in U.S. history took place at an open-air concert in Las Vegas, with 58 people killed and over 500 injured. According to local authorities, the gunman fired at least 10 firearms from a nearby hotel room on the 32nd floor.

President Donald J. Trump addressed the victims of this shooting and their families in an address on Monday afternoon, in which he called the shooting “an act of pure evil.”

“To the families of the victims: We are praying for you, and we are here for you,” he said in his statement. “We ask God to help see you through this very dark area.”

In the wake of the violent attack at a concert in Las Vegas, the AAP urged pediatricians to renew their advocacy for strong state and federal gun laws.
Source: Shutterstock.com

Data suggest that two previous mass shootings — Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. and San Bernardino, Calif. — prompted a significant increase in gun purchases. This continued trend was confirmed on Monday as stocks for Smith & Wesson rose 3.8%, along with notable increases for Strum, Ruger & Co. (3.9%) and Vista Outdoor Inc. (3.0%).

“Mass shootings are likely to boost [weapon] sales if they heighten concerns over personal security, because self-protection is the more commonly cited reason for owning a firearm,” David M. Studdert, LLB, ScD, MPH, professor of law and medicine at Stanford University, and colleagues wrote in the study.

Although the spike in purchases are short-lived, an increase number of firearms in the home can potentially expose children to firearm-related injuries, as well as an increased risk of gun violence and suicide.

“As we offer condolences to those killed, injured and grieving, we also resolve to work harder to protect our communities. We can start by working to advance meaningful gun safety legislation that keeps children safe,” Karen Remly, MD, MBA, MPH, FAAP, CEO/executive vice president of the AAP, and Fernando Stein, MD, FAAP, president of the AAP said in a statement.

“The AAP advocates for strong state and federal gun laws that protect children in every state of the nation,” they continued. “Despite the fact that these types of events have become too common in our daily lives, we must not grow complacent in our reaction to them, and instead renew our resolve to stop them from occurring again and again.”

Infectious Diseases in Children has compiled several articles to help address this potential increase in firearm ownership, including information on counseling families, promotion of safe storage practices and gun legislation, as well as the pediatrician’s role in preventing injuries.

AAP president renews call to advocate for victims of gun violence

During the presidential address of the AAP 2017 National Conference & Exhibition, Fernando Stein, MD, FAAP, encouraged pediatricians to continue to ‘safeguard public health’ by advocating for policies that reduce the rate of firearm-related injuries and deaths in the United States. Read More

Pediatricians urged to promote gun safety legislation, protect kids

Although the AAP has been on the frontline of defending children against legislation that would promote unsafe gun use and storage, more work is needed in the promotion of access to mental health care, universal background checks, safe storage requirements and safe gun technology, according to a recent presentation held at the AAP 2017 National Conference & Exhibition. Read More

Pediatricians crucial to prevent firearm-related injuries in children

Pediatricians are pivotal to reducing firearm injuries among children, particularly through patient and family inquiries regarding firearm access in the household, as well as encouraging safe storage of household firearms, according to a review published in Hospital Pediatrics. Read More

Gun law reform requires redefining ‘violent’ individuals

Current gun laws do not accurately target individuals at greatest risk for gun violence, according to a presentation at the U.S. Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress. Read More

Few ED physicians counsel families on firearm injury prevention

Although most pediatric emergency medicine providers believe that proper counseling could prevent firearm injuries sustained by children, only about 35% provide occasional or frequent guidance on the topic to families, according to survey data presented at the AAP 2017 National Conference & Exhibition. Read More

by Katherine Bortz