The Pittsburgh Foundation

Protecting Our Region's Children from Gun ViolenceThree Community Forums

Amanda Ostroff, right center, and Claire Ellermeyer, left center, both freshman at Fox Chapel, Pa., high school attends a gathering in Market Square in downtown Pittsburgh Saturday, March 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Cover of Protecting Our Region's Children from Gun Violence report

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now have reported that, for the first time in our history, gun violence is the primary cause of death for America’s children. This can only be seen as an intolerable failure to provide the basic protections that these most vulnerable members of our society surely deserve. That failure is particularly shocking for a country that is among the most economically advanced in the world and that generally considers itself to be among the most civilized.

Though this CDC finding is heartbreaking, it also clearly signals that we are in the midst of a national public health crisis that demands far more than an emotional response. To effectively protect our children, we must come together as a community to better understand the causes of this crisis and the full scope of its impacts, as well as the range of possible cures. The analysis of relevant data and the careful consideration of best practices, whether developed here or in other regions, must be central to this effort.

The Pittsburgh Foundation, the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute of Politics are civic organizations that have long been dedicated to finding non-partisan solutions for serious regional challenges. Given the critical nature of this threat, these three groups joined forces to produce a series of forums and final report to enhance this community’s understanding of the issue and better position it to respond to this societal challenge. The final report, especially, is an invitation for us all to continue to work together in community for the physical safety and emotional wellbeing of our children.