Bravery — this is gonna take ongoing bravery!

Today is National Gun Violence Prevention Day and many around our country are rallying by wearing orange. Wear orange, please, but let’s remember that this is a long-term effort — to protect our children this is an everyday thing to help shape and change our culture. We must be persistent and carry today’s inspiration for orange through every day and tackle every opportunity we are presented with to reduce gun violence and tragedy. We must be brave to speak out and up about what we believe. We know #BlackLivesMatter and we know risk from gun violence isn’t the same for all of us. Children of color are at higher risk. We can work to reduce gun violence in so many ways by becoming more intolerant of injustices we see. They are everywhere and I think we are collectively learning more and more every day. This week’s news on twitter is no exception. We know school shootings go against everything we all want for our children. In addition to orange, let’s be bold. Let’s keep inventing new ways to reduce violence, suicide, tragedy, harm, and suffering from gun violence. This remains personal to me and I won’t relent.

10 Resources And Ideas To Help & Organize & Support #EndGunViolence

  1. Wear orange today, yes please, but use it as a reminder for everything to come, too! Keep at this – keep talking with friends and family. Keep learning how you, personally and individually, can help. We all can. You rock! Do what you can to contribute to the conversation that leaves us all safer.
  2. Follow Moms Demand Action online and on Twitter. As a pediatrician and mom I also suggest you follow Emma Gonzalez, and many she re-tweets, too. Look and listen to how she crafts messages and how her bravery is changing the tone and approach to change across our nation.
  3. If there is a firearm in your home, check it tonight. Make sure it’s stored locked, unloaded and separate from ammunition.
  4. If you are 18, register to vote. Help everyone around you who may just be turning 18 years of age or hasn’t yet registered to get registered now.
  5. Call your elected officials (use this resource to find them!) let your voice be heard.
  6. Read this JAMA Op Ed – Death By Gun Violence – A Public Health Crisis.
  7. Business Insider – Gun Statistics
  8. If you’re concerned about mental illness in anyone in your life, be brave and share your love for them and ask how you might help. Help them seek professional support (counselor, nurse practitioner, pediatrician, family doctor, psychologist, family doctor, social worker, religious leader or partner who will connect them with one). Have every child you know screened for depression every year after age 12 years. AND if they are in a home with firearms, work hard to get firearms out of reach and out of the home until they are recovering from their mental health challenges.
  9. Here’s how to talk to children about firearms – Seattle Mama Doc Blog
  10. Join the ASK campaign and ask before your child goes on a play date or sleepover or weekend trip….ask if the house has a firearm inside. If so, make sure the firearm is locked and stored separate from ammunition. Be vigilant to ask at every single play date or sports drop off to ensure unlocked firearms are not around.

Quick Stats To Review From American Academy Of Pediatrics Study:

  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for children aged 10 – 17 years (firearms accounted for over 40% of all suicides for children 10-17 in this group).
  • Firearms were as likely to be present in homes with children with a history of self-harm risk factors (depression/ other mental health conditions), as in homes where no child had a history of self-harm risk factors.
  • 2/3 of homes with children & firearms stored at least 1 firearm unlocked & loaded, regardless of whether children in the home had self-harm risk.

Washington State Gun Statistics

  • 718 deaths in 2015 (36,252 in U.S.)
  • Nearly 40 percent of Washington households have a firearm present (2013)
  • 1 in 6 homes have guns stored loaded and unlocked (2013)
    • 35% of these homes have children living in them