Patrick Hand, center, joins a march to the National Rifle Association headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington on Monday. Statistics indicate 180 children were killed by firearms in 2010, most shot at home.(Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP)
President Obama, from his first remarks Friday to his Sunday evening
address in Newtown, Conn., has put the slaughter at Sandy Hook
Elementary in a framework of the violent toll on children and youth
around the country.
How many children and youth would that be?
a death toll of elementary-school-age children, and younger, that is
six times the 20 first-graders killed Friday at Sandy Hook.
would be 180 children, 11 years of age or younger, who were killed by a
firearm in 2010, according to the most recent report on violent deaths
from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says Jonathan
Lowy, director of the Legal Action Project for the Brady Center to
Prevent Gun Violence.
The CDC breakdown: 41 deaths were
classified as unintentional, 127 as homicide, four as suicide, and eight
from an undetermined intent.
And overwhelmingly, they died one by one at home.
2009, among 16 participating states in the National Violent Death
Reporting System, over 86% of all firearm deaths of children 11 or
younger took place in or around a home," Lowy says in an e-mail to USA
Lowy noted Monday that it took the cumulative effect of
all the gun violence during Obama's term for the president to make a
strong commitment to "change."
(Obama, even in Newtown, did not mention changing gun laws specifically.)
Lowy said, "The American people have to lead. The politicians will follow."
the White House has been bombarded with a record of more than 150,000
signatures on a petition that calls for a change in gun laws.
up the age group to teens and the numbers climb. David Hemenway, a
Harvard professor of health policy and director of the Harvard Injury
Control Research Center, told The New York Times,
"Children ages 5 to 14 in the United States are 13 times as likely to be
killed with guns as children in other industrialized countries "
After the shootings in Aurora, Colo., this spring, Hemenway, author of a 2006 book, Private Guns, Public Health, told Times
columnist Nicholas Kristof there is more social and legal pressure to
require people to pick up their dog's poop than to lock up their guns.
Religious leaders are also stepping up efforts to change gun laws.
United to Prevent Gun Violence national coordinator Vincent DeMarco
told Religion News Service that "the possibilities are much better" to
try again to renew a Clinton administration ban on assault weapons that
expired in 2004.
A coalition, which is affiliated with the Brady
Campaign, includes 39 Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh organizations.
It formed after 2011 after the shooting in Tucson that killed six
including a 9-year-old girl, and wounded then-congresswoman Gabrielle
Religion News Service noted calls for an
assault-weapons ban and an overhaul of other gun laws from the African
Methodist Episcopal Church, the PICO National Network, a coalition of
faith-based social justice groups, and Episcopal Bishop Mariann Edgar
Budde of Washington and the Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of Washington
However, not every religious voice is in
accord. Joseph Mattera, presiding bishop of the New York-based
evangelical group Christ Covenant Coalition, wrote in Charisma News on Saturday that gun control is not the issue endangering society.
guns for this and other tragedies like Columbine and Virginia Tech
massacres would be like blaming automobiles for the thousands of deaths
that occur every year due to accidents on highways and streets."