Let's Talk About Gun Violence

 Gun violence in the United States

Thank you Amnesty International for sponsoring this post.

My first born was three months old when the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary occurred. As a new mom battling postpartum depression, I was overcome with anxiety, worry, and fear about raising my child in a world where small children could be gunned down while attending school. From interviews with the victim’s families to memorial services and commentary on gun violence in the United States, I found myself unable to deal with the media and news outlets. I was paralyzed with fear and had to establish a media cleanse. No TV, internet, or newspapers until the anxiety went away.

Amnesty International stopping gun violence
 Gun violence in the United States

However, the news never got better and my anxiety never went away. As the years passed, more and more school shootings have taken place. When my son started elementary school, instead of asking the faculty about the curriculum, I was asking about security and emergency procedures. Are all the doors locked to the public during school hours? How many times does someone need to be buzzed in before entering? Do the classroom doors lock if there were a threat? When it comes to playdates, I’m forced to ask the parents if they are gun owners. It’s made for awkward conversations, but my worry overwhelms me.

I’ve found myself in heated debates with pro-gun and anti-gun advocates. What’s the solution?

While school shootings make big headlines, there are thousands of people who die each year due to gun violence. These tragedies rarely make the media outlets, but it’s important to note that the number of people killed (38,658 in 2016) or injured (116,000 in 2016) by gun violence each year is staggering. Over 100 people die each day in homes, schools and on the streets of America - and the real tragedy is that this is all preventable. Does an average citizen really need an AK-47? And furthermore, how is one even allowed to buy a gun like that?

Gun violence in the United States

How can an advanced country like ours protect our children and those who are victims of random gun violence while still affording its people their constitutional right to bear arms?

It’s become normal for children to fear being killed in their homes, schools and on the streets and playgrounds of their neighborhoods. There are even active shooting drills in schools all across the U.S. How has this become our new normal?

 Gun violence in Chicago

Amnesty International, the world’s largest grassroots human rights organization, is working diligently to end gun violence. The organization has issued a new report this September declaring gun violence in the United States to be a human rights crisis.  The comprehensive report – written by their team of expert researchers – details how the easy access to guns has affected all aspects of life in the United States, from school to home. The report calls on the U.S. government to promote and protect human rights by taking action to reduce and address persistent gun violence. 

Looking to help?

Amnesty International is campaigning on bills in states across the country. One bill is to end illegal gun trafficking in Illinois. This bill would require common sense measures to help stop the sale of dangerous, illegal guns in the state - such as AK-47s. It would make communities safer by requiring video surveillance outside dealerships, and it would make our kids safer by prohibiting new gun dealerships from opening within 500 meters of a school. You can take action by signing the petition here.

What are your thoughts on gun violence? Share with us in the comments below. We love to hear from our readers!

And check out the video, “In The #LineofFire,” which  illustrates how gun violence in the United States has become a human rights crisis.

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