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Marching for our children’s lives, our nation’s soul

MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN | 4/3/2018, 11:09 a.m.
I am so proud of every one of the brave young survivors and opponents of gun violence, organizers, and marchers ...

Children’s Defense Fund

I am so proud of every one of the brave young survivors and opponents of gun violence, organizers, and marchers who led adults in the March For Our Lives and sister marches across the nation on Saturday. We have so much work to do to build safe communities for all of our children. We must follow our marching by electing leaders at all levels of government who will protect children, not guns and stand up to the NRA for every child’s right to live and learn free of gun violence. But that will not happen until mothers and grandmothers, fathers and grandfathers, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, neighbors and faith leaders, young voters and everyone who believes children have a right to grow up safely stands up together with our extraordinary young people in communities across America. We must together make a mighty ruckus for as long as it takes to break the gun lobby’s veto on common sense gun policy.

Until we shake off our sense of hopelessness and exile apathy to our trashcans in the face of persistent tragedy and bullying by the gun lobbyists, Congress and state legislatures will continue to do the NRA’s bidding, putting their perceived political self-interest ahead of the lives of our children and families and others they are sworn to represent and protect. It’s way past time to combine “thoughts and prayers” with action and vote out those who place protecting guns higher than protecting babies, children, teens, mothers and fathers, and the public safety of all. It’s way past time for the American people to retire the NRA as the self-appointed head of national security and the leading threat to public health and assure the safety of our children and families everywhere in America. We need a relentless, powerful collective vision and voice joining with young people who are unafraid to lead the way.

Here are 10 key facts to know and share with others after the march:

Children and teens are dying from guns in schools and communities every day.

  1. 3,128 children and teens were killed with a gun in 2016, enough to fill 156 classrooms of 20 children.

  2. A child or teen was killed with a gun every two hours and 48 minutes.

  3. The crisis is getting worse – 2016 marked the greatest number of child and teen gun deaths in 10 years.

  4. Gun deaths remain the leading cause of death for Black children and teens and second leading cause of death for all children and teens.

  5. Guns killed more children under 5 years old in 2016 than law enforcement officers in the line of duty.

  6. Since 1963, over 3 times more children and teens died from guns on American soil than U.S. soldiers were killed by hostilities in wars abroad.

Common sense gun regulations and care for child life are missing in our nation.

  1. Guns are the only consumer product manufactured in the United States exempt from federal health and safety regulations. We regulate toy guns and teddy bears, but do not regulate a product that kills 3,128 children a year and injures many, many more.

  2. Current federal background check requirements do not cover sales at gun shows, over the internet or other private sales.

  3. Today, 2 out of 3 American voters support stricter gun laws, including half of gun owners. Ninety-seven percent of all American voters and gun owners support universal background checks and 67 percent of voters and more than half of gun owners favor a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons.

  4. America’s military and law enforcement agencies have about 4 million guns. Estimates of America’s civilian gun ownership are as high as 310 million.