My kids won’t be going to school today. It’s the first day of LAUSD winter break so for three weeks I won’t have to worry about the security at my kids’ school in light of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. Instead, I’m taking my children to Tucson where last year a gunman shot 18 people including former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Six people died including a 9-year-old girl.
Nowhere is safe from gun violence. Not in the city, not in the suburbs. Not at schools or malls or movie theaters. Why do innocent people continue to be gunned down? And what are we as mothers going to do about it?
5,748 children died from gun violence in 2008-2009, according to a study by the Children’s Defense Fund. If that many kids had died from tainted food or a faulty car seat or lead paint we’d be taking to the streets and demanding that the government keep our kids safe. But with guns, people look the other way. In the United States, children ages 5 to 14 are 13 times more likely to die from guns than children in other industrialized countries, according to the New York Times. In that article Nicholas Kristof asks why we have strict regulations on toy guns, ladders and school cafeteria food, but we don’t have stronger regulations on guns.
Now is the time to demand stricter gun regulations. One of the guns used to kill children in Connecticut and the moviegoers in Colorado was a civilian version of the military’s m-16, which can fire 20 to 30 rounds in rapid pace. It’s marketed as a hunting rifle, but in reality it’s a semi-automatic weapon, an assault rifle, that no average citizen needs.
What teacher or mother or child has a fighting chance against a rapid-fire weapon? And why is it so easy to get one? In 33 states you can buy a gun at a gun show or through an ad on the internet without going through a background check. (California requires universal background checks on gun sales at gun shows).
It’s outrageous how easy it is to buy a gun. It’s time for us as parents to do something. Last night president Obama said these words to us
In the coming weeks, I’ll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens—from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators—in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.
Our President is asking us take up this cause. And it’s the most important one for our children. Gun violence is an epidemic that we can’t ignore because some people are afraid that they’re guns will be taken away. There is no way that guns will not be available in America, but there needs to be some kind of reasonable discussion about what types of guns are sold and who can buy them.
What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a horrific tragedy that cannot be allowed to occur again.
Yvonne Condes is the Editor and co-Founder of MomsLA.com, a community of Top Mom Bloggers in Los Angeles and Southern California.