Gun Violence and the toll it has taken

“In the United States, 332,014 people died from guns between 2000 and 2010.”

For better or for worse, firearms are an integral part of our country’s history and culture, making gun violence an everyday occurrence in America. A new report by the Children’s Defense Fund shows the toll it takes:

“In a study of 23 high-income nations, 87 percent of children under age 15 killed by guns lived in the United States. The same study found that the gun homicide rate for teens and young adults in the U.S. ages 15-24 was 42.7 higher than in the other high-income countries combined.”

Such facts may make gun violence seem like something that happens in a faraway land but, in reality, its tragedies strike closer to home than we’d like to believe. Earlier today, four schools in the northeastern part of the Las Vegas valley – Martin Luther King, Myrtle Tate, Sandy S. Miller and Ruben P. Diaz elementary schools – were locked down as LVMPD officers investigated reports of a shooting. At this time, the investigation continues and one suspect has been apprehended.

These reports in Las Vegas parallel a series of shootings that recently occurred in New York City, including one this past Sunday when a 16-month-old boy was shot in the head just one block from his home.

Yet in recent months, the debate on how best to prevent gun violence has quieted down. Congressional lawmakers have not passed the legislation they touted in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy. In Nevada, a bill proposed by Senator Justin Jones to close the “gun show loophole” passed the 2013 State Legislature only to be vetoed by Governor Brian Sandoval. As we witness more threats and attacks to our children and our schools here in the valley as across the nation, we suggest lawmakers raise their voices to get the discussion rolling again.