In the aftermath of the most recent mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, the AAP has urged a push for gun reform from those in all levels of government in a statement made by Fernando Stein, MD, FAAP.
Stein said in the statement that the “epidemic of gun violence” can be prevented much like any other epidemic. He called for immediate action from elected leaders to promote expansion of background checks, the ban of assault weapons and the strengthening of the country’s mental health resources.
According to reports from CNN, Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire with a Ruger AR “assault-type rifle,” killing 26 people and injuring 20 others who were attending services in a Baptist church Sunday morning. While the full list of victims has not been released, the deaths of a 14-year-old, a 16-year-old, a 17-month-old, three children of undisclosed ages and a pregnant woman have been confirmed.
The shooting on November 5, 2017, at a Baptist church in Texas marks the second mass shooting in 35 days.
“Childhood activities like attending church, school or a concert; playing at home; or playing in the park should be routine parts of growing up, not the latest examples of where children were gunned down,” Stein said in the statement.
This shooting marks the second mass shooting in 35 days, with the previous shooting occurring at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas. Both shootings fall within the top five deadliest single-day mass shootings in modern American history.
“As pediatricians, these are the patients whose gunshot injuries we treat in EDs, and whose lingering stress, sadness and anxiety we help manage,” Stein said. “These are families forever grieving, communities forever branded by one violent event, children forever the age they were when their lives were taken far too soon. It doesn’t have to be this way.”
Donald J. Trump
In a joint news conference held in Tokyo with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, President Donald J. Trump addressed the issue raised by the AAP, claiming that the takeaway message regarding this shooting is not a matter of gun control.
“I think that mental health is your problem here,” Trump said. “We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries. But this isn’t a guns situation. I mean, we could go into it, but it’s a little bit too soon to go into it.”
However, in the statement issued by the AAP, Stein stated that the time to discuss gun reform cannot come soon enough.
“Gun violence is in everyone’s hometown. This affects all of us, and it will take all of us acting together to make our country safer,” Stein said. “It is not too soon to discuss meaningful, comprehensive public policies that will keep children safe from guns. For too many, it’s already too late.” – by Katherine Bortz