In the United States, one must be 18 years old to legally purchase a firearm, but that doesn’t mean children are exempt from the effects of gun violence in Philadelphia. Children are intertwined with firearms in the city, perhaps even more than we realize.
Last Friday, philly.com shared a story that chronicled the shootings of four children in five weeks throughout the summer.
These incidents are hardly isolated.
According to the Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation, nearly 400 children in Pennsylvania under age 20 are treated for firearm injuries each year — and this number doesn’t include children who die at the scene of a firearm accident.
Scott Charles, the trauma outreach coordinator at Temple University Hospital, is working to provide gun locks to North Philadelphia residents and facilitate gun buybacks for those who want to get rid of their firearms. Two weeks ago, he handed out gun locks in a public park, surrounded by children.
“Look at these kids,” Charles told The Temple News. “Can you imagine what would happen if one of them got a gun?”
Charles also ensures that every gunshot victim treated at TUH receives a free gun lock, no questions asked.
We’re grateful for those advocates who are trying to reduce gun violence, especially among children who shouldn’t be handling a gun in the first place. We hope outreach continues at Temple and in North Philadelphia as well as across the country.