OPINION: How many more children must die?

·2 min read
Micheala Denny
Micheala Denny
Cathy Craig-Myers
Cathy Craig-Myers

The recent shootings in Buffalo, Uvalde and elsewhere have brought the tally of mass shootings in the United States this year to close to 250 - and we’re not even halfway through 2022.

As a nation, we once again find ourselves at a crossroads following a brutal month of mass shootings. Will it be any different this time?  How many more children must die? How many more mothers, fathers, teachers, and churchgoers must be taken for our leaders to finally get serious and do something?

If the number of guns were a measure of safety, the United States would be the safest country in the world. But indeed, we are not. Every single day, more than 110 Americans are killed by guns and more than 200 are shot and wounded. Gun violence is the leading cause of death for children and teens in this country.

It’s not like this anywhere else in the world. Every country deals with extremists, and every country deals with stress and mental health issues. But only in the U.S., are there nearly 400 million guns flooding streets, homes, and schools. And as we’ve seen so starkly there are consequences to this country’s gun-obsessed culture - gun violence can strike anywhere, at any time. It doesn’t have to be this way.

In response to the recent mass shootings, about 400 people gathered at Five Points Park in Sarasota on May 28 for a rally and vigil against gun violence. Multiple speakers from the community addressed the problem and the names of recent mass shooting victims were read during the vigil. Moms Demand Action and Sarasota Chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence organized the rally.
In response to the recent mass shootings, about 400 people gathered at Five Points Park in Sarasota on May 28 for a rally and vigil against gun violence. Multiple speakers from the community addressed the problem and the names of recent mass shooting victims were read during the vigil. Moms Demand Action and Sarasota Chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence organized the rally.

Gun safety just makes sense and people across the political spectrum agree. Nearly 90% of Americans support background checks on all gun sales. Many of the commonsense policies that lawmakers could put in place to save lives are supported by law enforcement, faith leaders, and other key public safety stakeholders.

But leaders in Washington and in Tallahassee are unwilling to listen to their constituents and take action to stem the violence.

In the midst of all of the tragedy and violence we’ve seen this year, Florida lawmakers have continued to threaten public safety by attempting to pass permit-less carry, a policy that would invite even more gun violence into our state. Research data shows that states that weakened their firearm permitting systems experienced a dramatic increase in gun violence, and states with weaker gun laws had higher rates of gun deaths.

Some have nicknamed us the "Gunshine State." Are we brave enough to say out loud that we across Florida want to be known instead as the "Gun-sense State"?

As Golden State Warriors basketball head coach Steve Kerr, who lost a family member to gun violence, so poignantly articulated recently, “We can’t become numb to this. We can’t just sit here and just read about it and say, ‘Let’s have a moment of silence.’”

No more thoughts, prayers, and moments of silence. We must find a way forward. With gun ownership comes responsibility. Our elected officials must act.

Micheala Denny is the Tallahassee chapter leader for Moms Demand Action. Cathy Craig-Myers is a volunteer with Moms Demand Action and the former executive director of the Florida Juvenile Justice Association.

This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: How many more children must die? | Opinion