CCHA Calls on Congress to Take Action on Gun Violence

As a community that has dedicated itself to saving and improving the lives of all children, gun violence is abhorrent to us. It is a serious public health crisis that must be addressed. Guns are now the number one killer of children in the United States and as healthcare providers we see firsthand the devastating toll violence and trauma take on children, their families, and our communities.

The numbers are clear. Over the past two decades, more school-aged children were killed by gunfire than on-duty police officers and active military members combined. Our country’s homicide rate among teens and young adults is nearly 50 times higher than other high-income countries and our firearm suicide rate is eight times higher. Stronger gun laws are empirically linked to lower rates of gun violence and fewer gun-related deaths.

Effective gun safety legislation works. California has one of the nation’s lowest rates of firearm deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California had 8.5-gun deaths per 100,000 people in 2020. The national rate was 13.7 per 100,000. 

We are failing our children. They should not be the victims of our unwillingness as a nation to enact basic protections for their safety. We call on our elected officials in Congress to adopt common-sense federal reforms, guided by evidence, to protect our children. The California Children’s Hospital Association also supports well-funded federal and state research on ways to reduce gun violence and make gun ownership safer, along with increased investments in behavioral health services to help children in crisis and support for those who have already been traumatized by gun violence. We ask our elected officials to act now to strengthen our communities and keep our children safe. They cannot wait any longer.