What is the leading cause of death for children? Guns | Opinion

Second Amendment

What has become of us?

A 16-year-old honor student is shot when he accidentally knocks on the wrong door. 

A young woman is shot when the friends she is with accidentally pull into the wrong driveway. 

Two high school girls are shot when one of them accidentally gets into the wrong car, thinking it is hers. 

A 6-year-old girl is shot while retrieving a ball from a neighbor’s yard. 

All within one week. In the United States of America. 

Have we become so fearful, so easily enraged, so enamored with our guns that we have completely lost our way?

How do we fix this? It’s clear that rushing to our respective political corners and hurling word grenades at each other every time another horrific shooting hits the news cycle isn’t going to do it. In fact, we need to stop viewing this as a political issue at all. It’s not political; it’s moral — and our propensity toward division and apathy is, quite literally, killing us.

We are, most of us, good people. We care about each other. We cherish our children. We are reasonable and sensible. We are capable of understanding that sensible regulations on gun sales, gun storage and assault-style weapons do not in any way infringe upon our constitutional right to bear arms. 

Let’s take a hard look at some hard facts:

As of this writing, there have been 167 mass shootings in the U.S. this year alone. And it’s only April. 

U.S citizens are 10 times more likely to die by gun death than citizens in any other developed nation in the world. 

Firearms are now the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 19 in our country. The leading cause of death for our children.

These are not statistics that I am willing to live with. Are you? 

Please, join with me in claiming our responsibility as citizens to do something about gun violence in America. We can’t wait for someone else to fix this because it won’t happen unless a critical mass insists on solutions. Our approach will need to be multifaceted because the problem itself is multifaceted and complex.

Join with me in doing whatever we can to counteract fear with love and with accurate information. Join with me in scrutinizing the culture of violence we have created in our country, including through video games and other media. Join with me in refusing to see gun violence as a political issue and instead finding common ground with others from across the political spectrum. Join with me in ensuring that we do a better job of identifying and caring for the mentally ill in our country. Join with me in acknowledging that sensible gun regulations are not about restricting freedoms, but protecting them — especially the right to life.

Join with me in putting real and sustained pressure on our legislators to pass the commonsense gun regulations that a majority of Americans support and reminding them that they are beholden to us, their constituents, and not to the powerful gun lobbies that too often control their votes. Join with me in recognizing that the NRA, which casts itself as the protector of the Second Amendment, is actually interested in protecting the billion-dollar firearms industry. Join with me and millions of others by supporting the efforts of nonpartisan organizations like momsdemandaction.org; bradyunited.org; sandyhookpromise.org; and everytown.org so that we can reach that critical mass that will bring about real change.

We can do something about this. For the love of God, country and our precious children, we must do something.

Sharlee Mullins Glenn founded Mormon Women for Ethical Government in 2017 and served as its executive director through 2019. She currently sits on the external advisory board of Brigham Young University’s Office of Civic Engagement and volunteers with a number of humanitarian organizations. The thoughts expressed here are her own.

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