Gun Control Debate: 71 Kids Have Been Killed Since Newtown


No matter what your opinion on guns is, this is a sobering graph. The graph, which is a project of Slate and Mother Jones, reminds us of the dangers of having a gun in your home.

There have been 71 children who have been killed by guns just in the last five months. I will be the first to tell you that I wasn’t raised with guns in my house, I've never even held one. To me, this graph isn't about gun culture. What this graph says to me is that we are failing our children in some way. The intentions of graphs like the one below is not to put us against one another, instead we have to ask the question of how we can prevent these accidents and deaths from happening in the first place.

You can see the source for all of the data by going to this Google Spreadsheet which was provided by Mother Jones. This graph is part of a larger effort by Slate which has another interactive chart which attempts to depict all of the gun deaths since Newtown. 

It's true, these deaths are not common, but 3,000 children are injured by accidental shootings each year. Those shootings also inflict more harm than other kinds of injuries. Each state varies for how old a child can be before they receive a hunting license. Those same children are barred from attending gun safety classes until they are 11 or 12, at least according to one expert who teaches children gun safety. Gun safety classes aren't enough, though. Parental responsibility is an obvious aspect of this equation. For most of us, I believe we consider locking up guns to be common sense. This doesn't appear to be a common enough practice in enough households, a study shows that 43% of guns in homes with children in them aren't locked up. This, to me, seems to be something that we can all agree needs to change.

Many people have disagreed with me about whether or not gun manufacturers actively peddle their goods to children. The New York Times looked at this exact question, the paper analyzed over 1,000 pages of reports created for the gun industry about how to better target young people. The Shooting Sports Foundation is a tax-exempt trade association for the gun industry much of their $26 million budget is dedicated towards investing in newest youth initiatives.  

"The industry recognized that state laws limiting hunting by children could pose a problem, according to a “Youth Hunting Report” prepared by the shooting sports foundation and two other groups. Declaring that “the need for aggressive recruitment is urgent,” the report said a primary objective should be to “eliminate or reduce age minimums.” Still another study recommended allowing children to get a provisional license to hunt with an adult, “perhaps even before requiring them to take hunter safety courses.”

How can we encourage parents to not just hide their guns, but lock them up? If kids are going to be able to have provisional hunting licenses shouldn't they be required to have taken a hunter safety course first? Please let me know your thoughts on this!