Social justice issues in America: Gun violence

January 28, 2021

The Brady United, an organization inspired by Jim and Sarah Brady that led to President Clinton signing the Brady Bill into law, notes that gun violence is a racial justice issue. Brady United notes that Black Americans are twice as likely as white Americans to die from gun violence and 14 times more likely than white Americas to be wounded. Gun violence, according to bradyunited.org, alone reduces the life expectancy of Black Americans by four years.

Rules have been promulgated on a federal level to reduce gun violence. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) recognizes the role that firearms play in violent crimes and has pursued an integrated regulatory and enforcement strategy that involves investigative priorities focusing on armed violent offenders and career criminals, narcotics traffickers, narco-terrorists, violent gangs and domestic and international arms traffickers. ATF 41F Rule sets forth certain rules and requirements involving firearms requiring background checks as a public safety benefit for people trying to buy some of the most dangerous weapons and other items through a trust, corporation, or other legal entity. Each responsible person must submit a photograph and fingerprints when application for a firearm is made. ATF also requires no firearm may be transferred in the U.S. unless an application has been filed for transfer of a firearm. See the full rules and regulations at atf.gov.

This issue is important as in Milwaukee in 2020 there were 189 homicides according to the Milwaukee Police Department, nearly doubling the homicides in 2019. Milwaukee also saw an alarming trend of kids becoming victims of gun violence. According to a May 2020 article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, CBS News reported 15 kids were injured or killed in Milwaukee gun violence over a 2-month period. The report called this news “gravely concerning.” We all must work together to help reduce gun violence in our neighborhoods.

The City of Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention is dedicated to the prevention of gun violence and works as a resource to the City on local and national gun policy as well as facilitating action plans and projects for interested organizations and communities that want to reduce gun violence in their neighborhoods. Visit their website at https://city.milwaukee.gov/Health/Services-and-Programs/staysafe/gunViolence for more information

Gun safety in the home

It is recognized many families keep a gun in the home. KidsHealth from Nemours addressed the issue of gun safety, indicating that the safest way to store a gun if you have children in the home:

• Keep the gun unloaded and locked up in a cabinet, safe, gun vault, or storage case.
• Lock the bullets in a place separate from the gun.
• Hide the keys to the locked storage.

Young children are curious. Even if you have talked to them about the dangers of gun safety, young children can’t truly understand how dangerous guns are. If they come across a loaded gun, they can accidentally hurt or kill themselves or someone else.

KidsHealth also suggests if your child is going to someone’s house, it is important to know if there are guns in the home. It may be awkward to ask, but most people will understand that you’re trying to protect your child.

Beloved, our nation’s children are faced with pandemic levels of exposure to violence. Gun violence has become a major problem and it is going to take more than one sector of society and more than one group, but the entire community working together to be more deliberate in ensuring our youth do not become victims of violence, preventing childhood exposure to violence, and developing a plan to make our communities safer from violence.

Article Sources:
Brady United.org at: https://www.bradyunited.org/issue/gunviolence-is-a-racial-justice-issue
KidsHealth at: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/gun-safety.html

Next week: Social Justice Issues in America (Food Insecurity)

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