Letter to the editor: Guns are health issue

To the editor:

As a pediatrician I have taken care of numerous children who were victims of gun violence. I, along with countless other Americans, have also been affected personally by gun violence. Every day 83 children are shot in the United States. Gun violence is a public health issue.

Pediatricians depend on research to learn how to best prevent injuries. Such research in the past has brought us car seats and bike helmets, which help to keep our children safe. We need the same rigorous scientific investigations to see how we can best prevent children from being injured or killed by guns. The American Academy of Pediatrics along with more than 100 other medical and scientific groups are asking Congress for $50 million in research funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help us understand how to prevent gun injuries and deaths.

Background checks have been shown to keep communities safer by keeping guns out of dangerous hands since they were instituted in 1994. Since that time technology has changed, allowing people to buy guns online or at shows without a background check. The House of Representatives has passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019. The Senate version is now under consideration. This legislation would apply background checks to all firearms sales and make it more difficult for dangerous individuals to purchase guns at a show or online.

I urge you to contact your legislators and tell them to support this legislation and funding for gun violence prevention research.

Pamela Adams McKean, M.D.,



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