APTA Pediatrics Stance Against Gun Violence in the Aftermath of Escalating Mass Shootings, Including Children and Teachers
The mass shooting in Uvalde, TX, is the 27th school shooting this year. Nineteen children and two teachers died in the deadliest school shooting since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting claimed 26 lives in 2012. In the 18 days after the racial massacre at a supermarket in Buffalo, NY, there were 18 mass shootings in the United States, including at a hospital in Tulsa, OK.
Firearms are now the leading cause of death in children and adolescents 0-19 years of age, with an 83% increase in youth firearm fatalities over the past decade; nearly two-thirds of youth firearm deaths were from homicides. Black youth had an unprecedented 40% increase in firearm fatalities between 2019 to 2020, according to a commentary published in Lancet Child and Adolescent Health. More than 311,000 students have experienced gun violence at school since Columbine. In 2022 we have had more mass shootings than days in the year. These tragic statistics point to the urgent need to take action to prevent more youth from dying by firearms.
Please take a moment to read:
Now is the time to reach out to your legislators to engage in difficult conversations about how to protect children and make our communities safer.
A Statement from the APTA Pediatrics President:
APTA Pediatrics members provide services in a variety of settings to some of the most vulnerable individuals in our society. Our community of physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and physical therapy students grieve for the tragic loss of children and teachers in Uvalde, TX, the individuals in Buffalo, NY, and the victims of all mass shootings and gun violence in the United States.
Members of APTA Pediatrics and the American Physical Therapy Association embrace an evidence-based practice model. Congruent with that model, we take evidence while asking questions and formulating strategies on how to protect and enhance the members of our society, including our most vulnerable members.
Is it time to work together and review evidence from other industrialized countries and compare outcomes. Evidence shows that countries that have enacted policy change to curb gun violence see mass shootings as rare events rather than everyday occurrences.
APTA Pediatrics envisions a world where every child can experience a fulfilling life. Our core values challenge us to Advocate, Collaborate, Elevate:
- Advocate for safe environments for all members of society.
- Collaborate with other organizations to enact positive change for all members of society
- Elevate research and education on gun violence and prevention.
Although I understand the issues are complex, I encourage ALL members to be thoughtful leaders for our profession and the families that we serve by reaching out to your legislators to engage in difficult conversations, listen without judgment, and collectively come up with reasonable solutions to protect children and make our communities safer.
A Tibetan belief: "Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength. No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful the experience is, if we lose our hope, that's our real disaster.”
Cindy Miles, PT, PhD
Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Pediatric Physical Therapy
President, APTA Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy