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January 11, 2008
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WASHINGTON, DC - The Children's Defense Fund (CDF) today joined several leading advocacy organizations in submitting an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the District of Columbia's handgun law. CDF, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Adolescent Medicine, Women Against Gun Violence, and Teens Alive! support the Washington, D.C., Attorney General's office in fighting to uphold D.C.’s decades-old ban on handguns that helps protect the lives and safety of children and teens throughout the city.
"The Children's Defense Fund believes laws like the D.C. ban on handguns are crucial to protecting children and teens from the danger and violence of firearms," said CDF General Counsel Susan Gates. "CDF believes that the District of Columbia’s handgun law was not only a reasonable restriction, but critical for the safety of our children and teens. Other states should view D.C.'s law against handguns as a model, making the protection of our children and teens a priority. CDF hopes that in making its decision, the Supreme Court will consider the appalling and massive impact gun violence has had on our nation's children and teens. Far too many children and teens have already lost their lives to handguns."
Since 1979 gun violence has snuffed out the lives of 101,413 children and teens in America. Based on the most recent data available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2004 alone:
The gun death toll for children and teens in the United States was 2,825, more than the total number of American service men and women who died in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan since those wars began in 2003 through December 2006.
Nearly eight children or teens were killed by guns each day—235 each month.
58 preschoolers were killed by firearms, while 57 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty.
The number of girls killed by firearms increased from 325 in 2003 to 387 in 2004—a 19 percent increase.
On March 9, 2007, the D.C. Court of Appeals became the first federal appellate court to overturn a gun-control law by striking down D.C.’s handgun ban enacted in 1976. The Court rejected the city's argument that the Second Amendment right to bear arms applied only to militias, arguing that the right to bear arms is an individual right. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on the case in March of 2008.
Due to their long-standing and continuing commitment to protecting children and teens, and their recognition that handguns pose a particular threat to America's young people, CDF and other amici parties are actively committed to controlling access to all firearms, particularly handguns. The Children's Defense Fund believes that the absence of handguns from children's homes and communities is the most reliable and effective method for preventing firearms-related injuries and deaths to children and teens.
To view CDF's report, Protect Children, Not Guns 2007, visit: http://www.childrensdefense.org/GunReport