America has a huge problem with guns – there can no longer be any doubt about it. We have had a mass shooting nearly ever day this year and we have already lost more than eleven thousand lives to gun-related violence or gun-related accidents. Making matters worse is the thousands of children severely injured or killed because of this country’s obsession with firearms and rampant negligence. Unfortunately, last week was no different, and another child has been hurt thanks to another “responsible” gun owner’s poor decisions.
The Detroit Free Press reported that a preschool aged child was admitted to a Michigan hospital last week with a gunshot wound to the side. The child was left alone in a car with a loaded 9mm Smith and Wesson handgun, which the curious tyke used to shoot himself. His mother was reportedly loading groceries when the incident occurred.
Troy Police Captain Robert Redmond said that although the gunshot wound was not fatal, the child still required surgery to repair the damage. Redmond also said that is was unclear whether or not the firearm was left in the car by the boy’s mother or her husband, but “she’s still responsible for the child’s safety.” He told the Free Press that he plans on filing “some type of charge” against the mother.
This becoming an all too common occurrence in this country. According to Gun Violence Archive, 2,846 children have been injured or killed by guns so far this year — 602 of those children were under the age of twelve. Gun violence is so prevalent in America that when parents were asked what they are most concerned about, nearly half of them answered “school violence and gun-related injuries.”
Republicans and the NRA tell us that “we do not have a problem” or “guns don’t kill people, people do!” Clearly that is not true. When “Child Shoots Himself” or “School Shooting Claims…” becomes a headline that we hardly bat an eye at, there is a very obvious problem. It is our job to keep our children safe, not just our own, but other people’s kids as well and we are failing miserably. Three years ago, twenty little kids were gunned down in their first grade classrooms and the GOP blocked every effort made to prevent that from happening again. They claim they block gun-control efforts because of “freedom,” but how “free” is a person when they are in a casket?
This leaves us with only one option: vote them out of office, elect pro-gun control politicians and start putting “responsible” gun owners in jail when their guns land in the hands of children. It is both embarrassing and enraging that this continues to happen week after week.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.