Let this be the last time—the Colorado Children’s Campaign calls for immediate action on gun violence

Written by: Children's Campaign
Date Posted: May 27, 2022

We are outraged. We are heartbroken. It is devastating to continue to wake up in a country where our children are not safe. We cry thinking about toys left littered across bedroom floors, 10-year-old sized shorts in a dryer that never need to be put back into drawers, and half-eaten favorite snacks. We shake with anger thinking about how our own kids began active shooter training drills at their child care centers before they could even walk. It is demoralizing to work towards gun safety policies only to see that our children remain in danger, especially in their schools – which are supposed to be safe havens. Still, our anger and sorrow are nowhere close to what the families of Robb Elementary School are now experiencing.

In the United States, there have been 213 mass shootings in the 147 days of the year thus far.  

On Tuesday, Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, became the site of the 27th school shooting of this year. We are mourning the loss of 19 children and 2 educators. We are sending our love, compassion, and strength to the children who have been seriously injured and traumatized at such young ages, and to all of Robb Elementary’s students, families, and community. We recognize and mourn the fact that there is nothing that will bring these children and teachers back, and nothing that will heal the irreparable harm done to their families and community.  

This is a tragedy – but it is not an isolated one. Gun violence is an epidemic tragedy that the United States allows to continue; that those in power continue to wantonly neglect. The Columbine shooting – which threw the country off its axis – was 23 long years ago. There is no excuse for these senseless acts of gun violence to still be happening – and happening with greater frequency.  

Frequent mass shootings are not normal anywhere else in the world, while all countries experience challenges with mental health care. Some say that the days following a mass shooting are “no time for politics” – but if this is not a political matter, then what is? Our children fear for their lives – our children are being killed – because of our immobile politics. Between 2015 and 2019, 317 Colorado kids and teens died due to firearm injuries. Since 2020, firearm injuries have become the leading cause of death of children across the country – surpassing motor vehicle accidents.

We need a momentous shift in gun control legislation, attitudes, and state and federal priorities to keep our kids, families, and communities safe. We know these policies can work because they work everywhere else in the world. We thank Colorado legislators who worked to strengthen child access prevention statutes in Colorado last year, and we know that we can do more at the state and federal level. Even limited evidence from the United States shows that strengthening background check processes and establishing minimum age purchasing requirements can reduce gun violence and suicide. 

There were 21 victims of this tragedy, and there are millions more across the United States. Every child trained beginning in preschool on how and where to hide, every school staff member who is expected to sacrifice their life, every parent who worries about whether their child can just learn and grow in schools, every community that does not know if a school, grocery store, or place of worship in their town may be next. This repeated violence is the source of unending trauma and fear for all of America’s kids, parents, and educators. A majority of U.S. teens understandably worry that a shooting could happen at their school. It is compounding trauma for everyone. 

To honor those who have lost their lives to this senseless violence, to begin the journey of healing, we all must act. We must elect public servants who are dedicated to reducing gun violence. We must work toward policies at the state and federal level that prioritize the safety of our communities and take action to end gun violence. We can learn from the rest of the world to make the changes that keep our children safe. The Colorado Children’s Campaign is calling on state and federal law makers to prioritize the safety of our community and take action to end gun violence. Let this be the last time we experience this devastation. Here is what you can do today to be part of the solution:  

  • Contact your state legislator and tell them that you support policies to keep Coloradans safe from firearms. 
  • Find ways to directly support gun violence survivors and families of victims here 
  • Donate to the verified fundraisers of the families of victims in Uvalde.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) has developed resources to help children, families, educators, and communities navigate what they are seeing and hearing, acknowledge their feelings, and find ways to cope together. These resources include: 

The NCTSN also has resources for responders on Psychological First Aid (PFA; En Español). PFA is an early intervention to support children, adolescents, adults, and families impacted by these types of events. PFA Mobile and the PFA Wallet Card (En Español) provide a quick reminder of the core actions. The PFA online training course is also available on the NCTSN Learning Center. 

If you or a loved one need support or counseling, you can contact free, confidential and professional support through Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255. 

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About Children's Campaign

The Colorado Children’s Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization committed since 1985 to realizing every chance for every child in Colorado. We advocate for the development and implementation of data-driven public policies that improve child wellbeing in health, education and early childhood. We do this by providing Coloradans with trusted data and research on child wellbeing and organizing an extensive state-wide network of dedicated child advocates. For more information, please visit www.coloradokids.org.