Gun Violence Prevention Statement

Firearms are the second-leading cause of injury related death in children. The overall rate of firearm-related death and injury in children has increased over the past decade, and rate of firearm-related suicide in children has increased by over 30%[1]. Action from local, state, and federal policymakers is critical to curbing these trends and preventing harm.

CHOP’s Office of Government Affairs, in partnership with PolicyLab@CHOP and the Center for Violence Prevention, has adopted principles to guide families, advocates, and politicians who are working to end violent acts against children. These principles are as follows:

  • Federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health, should be allowed to perform and fund firearms research to determine the most effective interventions to reduce gun violence.
  • Children must be protected from all forms of trauma, including accidental and intentional injury by firearms. We support federal and state laws requiring firearms to be stored and secured properly, as well as community efforts to help families use safe storage techniques.
  • Children are less likely to die when we enact comprehensive background checks that keep guns out of the hands of criminals and other individuals who are prohibited by law from purchasing a gun. We support measures that require background checks before any transfer of a gun, for all firearms transactions, including private, internet, and gun show sales.  
  • We support improving the accuracy and completeness of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
  • The use of assault weapons and firearms with high-capacity magazines can increase the potential number and severity of injuries; and so we support measures that ban their availability.
  • There is no evidence to support a standard practice of arming teachers, parents, or other officials in the school-setting, and there are potential risks to the mental and physical wellbeing of students[2] .We therefore do not support the provision of firearms to school personnel.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has expertise in conducting community-based participatory research, developing evidenced-based interventions, and providing trauma-informed care to children. Legislation that encompasses the fundamental premise of these principles will complement a shared goal of providing a safer environment for all children today and in the future.

We welcome your comments and questions. 

Updated September 2020.
References

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed on 9/18/2020. 

[2] Rajan S, Branas CC. Arming Schoolteachers: What Do We Know? Where Do We Go From Here?. Am J Public Health. 2018;108(7):860-862. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2018.304464


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