All too frequently we hear that gun violence is the #1 cause of death of youth and children. In my youth we heard of measles, mumps polio and chickenpox. Now, they are down the list.
Shari, a California GVP friend, alerted me to the American Academy of Pediatrics/Technical Report/November 2022 titled “Firearm-Related Injuries and Deaths in Children and Youth”. It states: “Gun related deaths are now the #1 cause of death in youth and children age 0-24 here in America, with 10,197 firearm deaths in this age group in just one year 2020. Compared with 28 other high-income ‘peer’ nations (HIN), the U.S. has the highest rates of firearm deaths of youth and children. Although the other 28 HIN combined have over twice the population of the U.S., in 2015, 7241 American youth were killed by firearms compared with 685 youth in ALL the other 28 nations combined. Among children ages 5-24, the rate of firearm related suicide in the US is eight times higher than in similar HIN.
What is the difference between America and these ‘peer’ nations? They have much stricter gun control laws and far fewer guns among their citizenry.”
Since the Texas mall massacre, we have heard political leadership call for prayers and mental health treatment. I agree and support these prevention and comfort paths. Yet, I would add: universal background checks, Red Flag laws, 30 day waiting periods for purchase, licensing and registration of all gun transactions, regulation of gun shows, raising the age of gun purchase to 21, safe-storage in homes, mandatory firearms safety training, and the banning of AR-type semi-automatic weapons of war. Even if all of these laws were passed, responsible people could still purchase a weapon.
Indeed, we owe these laws to our children, youth and each other. Life is too precious to throw it away by irresponsible inaction.

Ron Letnes (Rev. Dr.)