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Oishei Children's Hospital Statement on Gun Violence

Updated: 6/3/2022

Today marks National Gun Violence Awareness Day and the beginning of Wear Orange Weekend in the U.S. In the wake of the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, Texas and Oklahoma, Oishei Children’s Hospital today released the following statement on the urgent need to address the gun violence epidemic:

“As health care providers deeply entrenched in the mental, physical and emotional well-being of children, we have seen firsthand the collective trauma gun violence inflicts on kids, families, and our community at large. It’s unconscionable that 12 children die every day in the U.S. from gun violence. Our collective inaction on gun safety has meant that guns are now the leading cause of death among children and teens, and that U.S. children and teens are more likely to die from guns than in any other wealthy nation.

In a 2015 study conducted in 29 countries, the U.S. accounted for almost 97 percent of the firearm deaths among children 4 years old or younger and 92 percent of firearm deaths for those between the ages of 5 and 14. The proliferation of firearms in this country is also staggering. People in the U.S. own nearly 400 million firearms, according to a 2018 study by the Small Arms Survey. That's almost 46 percent of the estimated 857 million civilian-held firearms in the world, which is striking considering that the U.S. accounts for just 4 percent of the global population.

We unequivocally support a layered evidence-based approach to address gun violence as a public health crisis, including advocating for the following New York State supported measures on the federal level:

  1. Raise the minimum gun purchase age from 18 to 21; research has proven that the adolescent brain continues to develop well into the 20s with continued maturation of executive function and impulse control.
  2. Ban the sale of assault-style weapons, untraceable firearms, or “ghost guns,” and body armor
  3. Require universal background checks and mandatory waiting periods on firearm purchases
  4. Red flag laws that would allow authorities to confiscate guns from people at high risk for harming themselves or others
  5. Stricter oversight and regulation on social media to decrease children’s access to violent, racist, and hate-filled posts
  6. Investments in school and community-based programs to support the social and emotional needs of children such as conflict resolution, stress management, empathy, bullying prevention and mentorship
  7. Investments in pediatric and parental mental health resources to address the widespread trauma, chronic stress and PTSD caused by gun violence
  8. Create more robust educational resources on safe gun storage to mitigate the number of unintentional gun-related injuries and deaths

We all have a role to play in ensuring that our homes, schools and communities are safe for everyone. Our priority must be to advocate for and implement risk reduction strategies and meaningful legislation that provide our kids with safe environments where they can live, learn, grow and thrive.

Oishei Children’s Hospital and other Kaleida Health facilities will be lit up in orange this weekend in recognition of all those affected by gun violence. We will continue to stand up against gun violence and advocate for systemic changes to stop the senseless loss of lives that our community and country continue to experience.”