Strong Gun Laws Lead to Less Gun Violence and Safer Kids

The following is an edited excerpt from a June 18 statement from MIAAP member and mental health champion Dr. Lia Gaggino, shared with a bipartisan state firearm safety caucus as she educated them about the impact of gun violence on children and youth.

Recently proposed legislation would eliminate the existing requirement that a person must obtain a concealed pistol license for those who are not otherwise prohibited from possessing a pistol and allow concealed carry without a license wherever open carry or concealed pistol license holders are able to do so.

2019 Michigan data found that there were 1,220 deaths by firearms – 83 were children and teens and 60% of the deaths were suicides. National data also finds that for children and teens who die by suicide using a firearm, 80% of the firearms are owned by parents. Weakening Michigan’s gun laws by allowing open carry of handguns and forgoing licensing poses a threat to public safety and to the lives of our children.

Research strongly suggests that the presence of visible firearms can lead to an increase aggressive and violent behaviors especially in the setting of an interpersonal conflict. In these cases of conflict, the assistance of law enforcement is often required, and open carry of firearms can create confusion for responding officers and can endanger both law enforcement and gun carriers.

Research has shown that stronger gun laws lead to less gun violence. Instead of pushing through legislation that would increase the presence of guns in public spaces, Michigan legislators should be focusing on legislation that protect children from gun violence like safe storage of guns and universal background checks.
The Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics is committed to improving the physical, mental and social health of Michigan’s infants, children, adolescents and young adults; partnering with pediatric providers, parents and communities; and supporting members by increasing their engagement, education and expertise.