June 15, 2022

President of the American Academy of Pediatrics Testifies on the Impact of Gun Violence on Children

During hearing to examine the impact of gun violence on children, Judiciary Committee releases testimony from Dr. Moira Szilagyi, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee released Dr. Moira Szilagyi’s prepared testimony during today’s hearing entitled “Protecting America’s Children From Gun Violence.”  Dr. Szilagyi, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), will additionally discuss how the AAP invited their member pediatricians to submit stories about gun violence and its impact on their patients.  AAP has received hundreds of stories from pediatricians, which are available here.

Key quotes as prepared:

“On the morning of May 24, the students of Robb Elementary School started their day like any other. They tied their shoes, put on their backpacks, and said goodbye to their parents and caregivers… But as we all know now, 19 of these children did not return home to their families that day to untie their shoes and hang up their backpacks… And unfortunately, in America, a day with gun violence has become an ordinary day.”

“[D]eath by firearm is now the leading cause of death in children, surpassing car accidents. Pediatricians counsel families about gun safety, but… The duty to keep children safe extends beyond pediatricians and beyond educators. This is a duty we all collectively have as a society. But in this duty, I am sorry to say, we have failed our children.”

“Every year, more than 3,500 children and teens die by firearm. Put another way, that is like having a Uvalde-scale tragedy every other day. Another roughly 15,000 children and teens are wounded by firearms every year.”

“The effects of gun violence spread further than just those involved, with an estimated three million children exposed to gun violence each year. When children are exposed to violence, it leads to increases in stress, anxiety and decreased physical activity as a result of feeling unsafe.”

We can’t talk about child firearm deaths, especially homicides and suicide, without talking about trauma. The surviving classmates at Robb Elementary have experienced an unspeakable trauma that for them will have life-long reverberations. But children across the country are experiencing trauma too, whether it’s the millions of students who have been exposed to gun violence or the rest of our children who have learned about what happened in Uvalde and now fear for their own safety at school.”

Full text of Dr. Szilagyi’s prepared remarks are available here 

Full hearing on the impact of gun violence on children can be viewed here.

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