On July 3rd, Davis Patch reported that an 11 year-old boy was transferred from Antioch to UCDMC following an accidental shooting. Witnesses said he sustained a gunshot wound to the lower chest while playing with friends. Fortunately, it would appear that it was a non-life threatening injury and he is anticipated to recover fully.
Now, before readers start launching comments that Antioch and Davis are so different that this is not worth discussing, I would present a few examples of violence from our own community within the past few years.
- A beating severe enough to result in intensive care and a prolonged recovery for the victim
- Two senior citizens stabbed to death in their home
- A child drowned by her mother
Violence, like accidents, is not limited to any one community or socioeconomic group.
While it is true that there have not been any recent gun related injuries of which I am aware in Davis, I believe that gun injuries whether intentional or accidental can occur anywhere.
I believe that despite the relatively strong gun laws on the books in California, there is still much that we can do to protect our children, and all members of our community from gun injury, both intentional and accidental.
One such measure currently moving through the legislature is SB 53. This bill would require ammunition sellers be licensed by the California Department of Justice, and for ammunition purchasers to pass a background check. Licensed ammunition vendors would be required to verify that buyers have passed a background check by submitting information electronically to the Department of Justice.
We often hear the comment “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. This is true as far as it goes. What it does not take into account is that sometimes children shoot other children or themselves without intent. In this circumstance, the loaded gun enables them to do what would otherwise not occur. We also hear the “horse is out of the barn” argument that there are so many guns in the community that limiting them is useless. However, a gun, without ammunition is harmless unless used as a bludgeon. Proposing the same limitation on ammunition as is currently in place for guns simply moves us one step closer to the prevention of unintended gun injuries as well as preventing ammunition from falling into the hands of those who are already determined by current law to be ineligible for legal ownership of firearms.
As a doctor whose primary concern is the health and safety of all members of our community, I urge anyone interested in public safety to consider supporting this quite modest measure – which would have the effect of limiting the purchases of ammunition in the same way as the purchases of guns. This is not a request to ban guns, which I oppose for constitutional reasons. It is a request for a modest measure that can prevent gun injury, both accidental and intentional, by limiting who has access to ammunition.
If you agree, your support could entail writing a letter to your legislators or the governor. It might involve talking with your neighbors or your children’s friends about the issue of prevention of gun injuries. It could be a post on the Vanguard or writing letters to the editor. You could join me in requesting that the city council and other city leaders write letters or opinion pieces supporting this measure.
Regardless of your position, I invite you to join the conversation and share your thoughts about the policy implications of SB 53. The more voices we hear in the community, the deeper and broader the conversation. With more perspectives comes the chance for new ideas to increase the opportunities to promote a culture of safety that will better safeguard both our children and all members of our community.