HealthDay News — Pediatricians are joining the call for action to prevent firearm deaths and injuries, according to a letter published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and the recent shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas, Colleen Kraft, MD, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, is urging Congress to take action to prevent further firearm deaths and injuries.

The letter makes note of the senseless deaths from gun violence, and the inspiring advocacy of students pushing for change. The letter demands that Congress not wait to take action, but address this public health epidemic, which results in an average of 12 children, teens, and young adults being killed, and 66 being injured, by guns every day, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meaningful legislation must be advanced to help keep children safe.

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“The American Academy of Pediatrics advocates for stronger state and federal gun laws that protect children. We call for stronger background checks, solutions addressing firearm trafficking, and encouraging safe firearm storage. We call for funds for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to better study firearm-related death and injury so we can prevent tragedies like this in the future,” Kraft writes. “We will also continue to work to ensure that children and their families have access to appropriate mental health services, particularly to address the effects of exposure to violence.”