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Looking Down the Barrel of Gun Violence and Kids in MA

October 22, 2008

Boston, MA – Getting fired up against gun violence in Massachusetts; that's part of the message on this "Day of International Concern About Young People and Gun Violence." Federal statistics show the number of gun deaths of children and teens in Massachusetts is about 30 a year.

The Children's Defense Fund has been tracking such trends for ten years, and spokesman Ed Shelleby says that, while updating gun safety laws would help save lives, what he calls the nation's "culture of violence" is to blame, too.

"We have this sort of romanticized notion of guns and violence in video games and movies, on television, on the Internet, and if parents step in and say, 'You know what? We're not going to give this to our children,' it would be a step in the right direction."

Shelleby says the latest statistics show firearms kill more preschoolers nationwide in a year than law enforcement officers are killed in the line of duty, and although some gun deaths are accidents, most are murders.

Shelleby says it's also important not to become desensitized to the violence, which is easy to do because it's so common in entertainment.

"It is important to talk to our community leaders and tell them about the effects of gun violence, not only for the children, but for themselves, and for our communities."

Those opposed to changing gun laws cite interference with the constitutional right to bear arms.

More information on firearm deaths of children and teens is available online at www.childrensdefense.org.

Deborah Smith/Steve Powers, Public News Service - MA