This week, hundreds of doctors brought their stories of children suffering from gun violence to congress, in an act of hope.
Dr. Ben Hoffman is a pediatrician interviewed by NBCNews.com. He remains haunted by the three-year old boy who accidentally shot himself in the face with his parents’ gun, and died in his emergency room, and he wants to be clear on his position.
Hoffman doesn’t oppose guns. Or parents having them in the home. As chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention, he insists he’s in favor of a middle ground.
“With rights come responsibilities,” Hoffman told NBC News. “When I think back to the toddler who died- if that gun had been stored in a locked gun safe, that child would have been safe.”
Dr. Hoffman was part of a team of pediatricians who approached congress on April 10th, with three main requests. He wishes to protect kids from what may be seen as their own curiosity.
He and the team representing the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) was asking congress to:
- Provide $50 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for public health research into firearm safety and injury prevention;
- Support a minimum purchase age of 21 for semiautomatic assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; and
- Support a ban on semiautomatic assault weapons.
Hoffman says he’ll never forget crying with the patient’s parents, as their toddler slipped away.
According to recent reports, an average of 74 children and teens under the age of 21 are killed or severely injured by guns each day in the United States.
How can statistics change? In addition to other measures, the AAP is urging parents to learn the best ways of storing firearms in the home.
Keep them unloaded, in a locked case, with the ammunition locked in a separate location. If you’re not sure where to start, feel free to ask your pediatrician or local firing range on best practices involving guns and children. Help everyone stay happy, alive, and safe.
Photo credits: hidesy/Shutterstock.com