After the Senate returns from recess on April 8, it is expected to begin debate on common sense proposals to reduce gun violence and keep children safe in schools. We urgently ask you to add your organization’s name to this letter urging all Senators to take action to protect children. We encourage you to get organizations in your state networks to sign on as well.
We ask that you join now with other organizations committed to children from across the country to support common sense proposals in three areas that will make children safer:
• federal funding for increased positive school safety measures,
• a universal background check requirement that covers private gun sales as well as sales at licensed firearms dealers, and
• a limit on high capacity ammunition magazines.
These provisions will help protect children from the gun violence that threatens their lives every day. Please speak out and stand up for the seven children and teens whose voices are permanently silenced by gun violence every day and the estimated 166,500 children and teens who have been killed by guns since 1963.
Please add your national, state or local organization’s name to the letter in support of positive school safety enhancements, universal background checks, and a ban on magazines with more than 10 rounds of ammunition NOW or no later than 5:00 PM EDT on April 11th.
Click here to sign the letter. Note your organization’s name and location, whether it is national, state or local, the representative authorized to add the organization’s name to the letter, and contact information. We suggest you use this letter to draft your own with a similar message to your Senators.
For more information about gun violence and children, see CDF’s resources or contact Daniel Hains at 202-662-3513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brief background on school safety and gun violence prevention
School Safety Enhancements
Although less than two percent of child gun homicides occur in school, children cannot learn if they do not feel safe. It is important that the Senate support efforts to ensure schools remain a positive safe haven for students. Additional federal funding will help enhance school safety through proactive, evidence-based practices, including placing more mental health professionals and counselors in schools; providing wrap-around services for vulnerable children; implementing school-wide positive behavioral supports, and teaching children how to resolve conflict peacefully; creating a positive school climate based on good communication between children, parents and educators; and by securing schools by locking doors from the outside as school begins, not by using armed security guards or police officers. There is no evidence that armed security guards or police officers will keep children safer in schools. Yet, there is troubling evidence that their presence on school grounds leads to the criminalization of some children, especially Black and Latino males, and pushes them out of school and into the juvenile justice system.
Universal Background Checks
Federal law now requires a background check to purchase a gun from a federally-licensed firearms dealers. More than two million gun purchases have been denied since the existing system was launched. Yet, as many as one out of five gun sales may be occurring without a background check. Anyone can buy a gun without a background check if they purchase it from a private seller. Current national polling shows that close to 90 percent of Americans, 85 percent of gun owners and 74 percent of NRA members support universal background checks. The Senate must close this deadly loophole.
Banning High Capacity Magazines
Restoring the ban on large capacity magazines is an essential step to protect children. Magazines that include more than 10 rounds of ammunition have increased the deadliness of many mass shootings. Murderers with these large capacity magazines were able to kill more people at a faster rate. Twenty six were killed in Newtown, 12 in Aurora, six in Tucson, 13 in Fort Hood, and 32 at Virginia Tech.
Please join us in being a voice for children. We must act now with fierce urgency to “Protect Children, Not Guns”.
Peter Wells is the Associate Conference Minister serving churches and clergy in the Central and Hampshire Assocations and the Coordinator of Mission and Justice programs.