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Californians Make A Pledge Against Youth Gun Violence

October 22, 2008

Sacramento, CA - Californians have a chance to participate in today's "Day of International Concern about Young People and Gun Violence" by making a pledge to protect children, not guns.

According to the latest national statistics, the number of children and teens killed by gunfire has increased for the first time since 1994. The Children's Defense Fund report uses the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (from 2005) and finds that 3,006 young people died nationwide, including 474 California children and teens.

Ed Shelleby with the Children's Defense Fund says Californians can show their concern by pledging to do more to keep their communities safe.

"Talk to community leaders and tell them about the effects of gun violence, not only for children, but for themselves, and for communities."

Shelleby says children and teens can be protected from gun violence if everyone does his or her part. While talk about updating gun safety laws often incites opposition from those supporting the constitutional "right to bear arms," he says one of the easiest things to do is to refuse to buy products for children that glamorize guns.

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

Complete statistics on firearm deaths of children and teens is available online at and at

Lori Abbott/Steve Powers, Public News Service - CA