Thank you Amnesty International for sponsoring this post.
Between the four walls of a classroom, the sanctuary of a church, a concert, a movie theater, an airport, a post office, a gaming event, a home, a military base, a neighborhood, a grandmother’s porch.
Phones go unanswered. Children don’t return home from school. Families unimaginably, irreparably scattered and broken.
Gun violence is a public health crisis and its disease is distinctly American.
The sheer volume of people killed or injured each year in the United States by gunfire is staggering. In 2016, 38,658 people died as a result of gun violence, and over 116,000 more people suffered non-fatal injuries. Per capita, this is significantly higher than in other industrialized countries. Over 100 people die each day in homes, schools and on the streets of America. That’s more than 33,000 people killed each year.
Amnesty International, the world’s largest grassroots human rights organization, recently released a comprehensive report exposing gun violence as a human rights crisis. It is an epidemic that directly threatens all aspects of life in America every single day. This new report, written by Amnesty International’s team of expert researchers, details how the unfettered access to guns has compromised all aspects of life in the United States. The report calls on the U.S. government to promote and protect human rights by taking action to reduce and address persistent gun violence.
In the face of clear evidence of persistent gun violence, high rates of gun ownership, and ease of access to firearms by individuals likely to misuse them, the U.S. is failing to meet its obligation to protect and promote human rights. Fueling this crisis, laws regarding guns in the United States are inconsistent. No one’s rights can be considered secure as long as our leaders fail to do anything about gun violence.
It isn’t OK that as parents, so many of us instinctively search for the closest emergency exit when taking our kids to the movie theaters. I dream of a future that is free of lock down drills, bulletproof backpacks, clear backpacks, specialized attack-resistant doors and stoppers, and words of “thoughts and prayers” wrapped in inaction.
Like Amnesty International, I believe that gun violence is a human rights issue. We need sensible gun laws and policies. It isn’t normal for kids to fear being killed in their homes, schools, streets, and playgrounds in their neighborhoods. Yet all of this has become part of our daily lives in America.
Collective outrage fuels conviction and resolve. Communities across this country are coming together to solve gun violence. We have the knowledge and conviction to get this done. And the gun-violence-prevention movement is winning like never before.
How Can I Help?
- Get to the polls this November and encourage your friends and family to elect candidates committed to ending gun violence.
- Learn more about gun violence as a human rights crisis and stay informed by reading Amnesty International’s latest report on gun violence. Amnesty is campaigning on bills in states across the country. One bill is to end illegal gun trafficking in Illinois. This bill would require common sense measures to help stop the sale of dangerous, illegal guns in the state. It would make communities safer by requiring video surveillance outside dealerships, and it would make our kids safer by prohibiting new gun dealerships from opening within 500 meters of a school.
- Help to stop the spread of illegal guns and take action to support the work of Amnesty by signing the petition here.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.