Letter to the Editor

Remember gun safety

Saturday, May 29, 2021

To the Editor,

Firearms are the #1 cause of death of Missouri children, with over 100 killed each year. These are preventable deaths. The Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America created a Traveling Memorial for the 46 MO children, age 0-17, who died by gun homicide in 2020. The Memorial calls attention to the lives cut short and the grieving families left behind. It was displayed (recently) at Brown Chapel AME Church in Poplar Bluff. Thank you to Pastor Harrold and the church for hosting the memorial.

In Missouri, children of all ages and races are murdered with guns, but children of color are at higher risk. Black children are six times as likely, and Hispanic children are three times as likely as their white peers to die by guns. Children are killed during violent domestic disputes. Child firearm suicide has increased by 65% nationwide in the past decade. Deep societal problems hinder the task of reducing child gun homicides. However, there are steps we and our leaders must take to fight this epidemic.

They include:

1. Keep guns out of the wrong hands with (1) background checks on all gun sales (2) Child Access Prevention Laws (3) programs teaching safe gun storage (BeSMARTforKids.org) (4) laws that prevent all domestic violence offenders from possessing or purchasing guns.

2. Push for Violence Interruption Programs, which identify those at highest risk and intervene before violence occurs.

Text READY to 644-33 to join Poplar Bluff Moms Demand Action.

Mary Perry

Puxico

(Editorís note: The author of this letter cites the website EveryStat for Gun Safety as the source for statistics shared.)