The gun debate will continue this week, as we will hear Vice President Joe Biden's recommendations on gun control and curbing gun violence.
As we hear from both sides, it is important to remember that there are everyday child and teen victims of gun violence in our country. In fact, about 20,000 children and teens are shot each year and almost 3,000 die from gun violence, including murders, suicides, and accidents.
Here is just some of the gun violence from the past week that you should be aware of and which will hopefully motivate you to join the American Academy of Pediatrics and others who are advocating for ways to keep our kids safe:
- a 14-year-old near Taylorsville, North Carolina who suffered potentially life-threatening injuries after he was unintentionally shot in the abdomen by his friend while they were dove hunting.
- an 18-year-old in St. Petersburg, Florida who died after he unintentionally shot himself in the head while showing his friends that it was safe and that there wasn't a bullet in the chamber ready to fire.
- a 4-year-old in Kansas City, Missouri who is in critical condition after being unintentionally shot in the head by a loaded gun that had been left unattended on a chair. It isn't known if she shot herself or if she was shot by one of her young siblings in the home.
- a 2-year-old in Dayton, Texas who unintentionally shot himself in the chest with a loaded 9mm semi-automatic handgun that he found in a bedroom while his family was eating dinner.
- a 12-year-old in Pleasant Valley, Alabama who died after he was unintentionally shot by his cousin while he was showing him his brand new shotgun that he had gotten for Christmas.
- a 15-year-old in Mesa, Washington who was unintentionally shot in the abdomen by his 14-year-old brother while he was "messing around with a .22-caliber rifle."
- a 12-year-old in Breckenridge, Missouri who died when he unintentionally shot himself while "mishandling" a gun in his home.
- a 15-year-old in Milwaukee, Wisconsin who was unintentionally shot and killed by her 18-year-old brother, who dropped a gun on the floor, when it discharged.
- a 17-year-old in Tuscaloosa, Alabama who was killed after she was shot along with two other women inside an apartment while playing dominoes with the shooter.
- two teens, a 17-year-old and an 18-year-old, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama who were shot while walking in a neighborhood that they reportedly "didn't belong in."
- a 15-year-old in Newark, New Jersey who was killed after he was shot while walking with his 17-year-old friend, who was also shot and injured.
- a 5-year-old in Plainfield, New Jersey who is in critical condition after he was shot in the face while walking with his mother.
- a 17-year-old in Detroit, Michigan who was shot and killed.
- a 16-year-old in Detroit, Michigan who is in critical condition after being shot after a fight during a basketball game.
- a 14-year-old in Chicago, Illinois who was shot and killed on the porch of his home.
- a 15-year-old in Chicago, Illinois who was shot and killed .
- three teens, between the ages of 16 to 17-years-old, in Chicago, Illinois who were shot in separate incidents.
- a 13-year-old in Boston, Massachusetts who is in critical condition after he was shot while walking to youth choir practice at a church a few blocks from his home.
- a 16-year-old in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who was shot and killed while walking home from a convenience store.
- a 17-year-old in Marin City, California who was shot and killed, having just recently moved to the area to live with his mother and sister.
- a 17-year-old in Detroit, Michigan who was shot and killed after gunmen entered his home and fired on him and his brother, who was also shot and is in critical condition.
- a 16-year-old in Taft, California who is in critical condition after being shot by a fellow student at their school.
- a 17-year-old in Rockford, Illinois who was shot in the back.
- a 2-year-old in Brooklyn, New York who was shot while at a park with his father, who was also shot.
- a 16-year-old in Millbrae, California who was shot while hanging out in front of a house with friends.
- a 17-year-old in Oakland, California who was shot and killed while siting in his car.
- a 16-year-old in Belvidere, Illinois who was shot multiple times in his legs.
- a 14-year-old in Greensboro, North Carolina who was shot and killed by his father's longtime girlfriend, who shot and killed herself and wounded her daughter and his father.
- three teens in Chattanooga, Tennessee who were shot at a party for a 14-year-old.
- a 16-year-old in Akron, Ohio who was shot and killed by a friend's former boyfriend in their home.
Gun violence isn't going away and our focus on preventing gun violence shouldn't go away in the days and weeks following a big tragedy.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is advocating for improved gun safety legislation, increasing comprehensive access to mental health care, and lifting restrictions on federal gun violence research and prevention efforts to assure that all children are safe and feel safe in their homes, in schools and within their communities. Will you join them?