Sunday’s shooting at a Denver park that wounded nine people, including six children, is a tragic reminder that gun violence continues to be the leading cause of death for children and teens in Colorado and in the nation as a whole. According to the Denver Post, a 3-year-old girl, an 11-year-old girl, a 12-year-old boy, and three 17-year-olds were shot at a family gathering in what police believe was a drive-by shooting.
“Our hearts go out to everyone recovering from this terrible shooting, their families, and the children whose lives have now been shaken by gun violence,” said Abbey Winter, volunteer with the Colorado chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We cannot sit by as gun violence continues to kill, wound, and traumatize children and families across the country and our state. We will not stop fighting for a Colorado that is safe for all.”
Firearms are the leading cause of death among children and teens in Colorado, and an average of 58 children and teens die by guns every year. The state’s gun violence disproportionately affects Black children and teens, who are twice as likely as their white peers in Colorado to die by guns. In the United States, 58% of all gun deaths among children and teens are homicides. Children and teens in the U.S. are impacted by gun violence in all its forms. Exposure to gun violence has an impact on the psychological and mental well-being of children and teens and affects their school performance, among other factors.
To prevent gun violence in Denver, local leaders must continue to support and invest in violence intervention programs that are tailored to communities to stop the cycle of violence and save lives. Federal lawmakers must act, too, including enacting background checks on all gun sales and creating stronger gun trafficking laws. U.S. Senator Cory Gardner has failed to support the House-passed Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 (H.R.8), a bill to require background checks on all gun sales. Even though Colorado law already requires background checks on all gun sales, Coloradans can be harmed by guns brought in from states with weaker gun laws – underscoring the need for stronger federal gun laws.
Moms Demand Action volunteers continue to support partners and lawmakers in their efforts to prevent gun violence and enact stronger gun laws and are putting their grassroots power toward electing gun sense candidates in November who have vowed to act on gun violence in Colorado.