1434 Brook Valley Lane NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30324
March 15, 2023
RE: HB 161 Pediatric Health Safe Storage Act
A coalition advocating for common sense policies that prevent violence.
Georgia Coalition for Safe Communities (GCSC) urges you to pass HB 161.
Georgia has a rising public health crisis of gun violence hurting our children and destroying the safety of our communities.
HB 161 will be notable legislation that will implement safe gun storage. We can no longer ignore the fact that Georgia has some of the highest levels of gun-related violence in the country. Already in 2023, Georgia has had 1,900-gun related deaths. The public health burden is rising from gun violence: deaths, injuries, anxiety and other associated harms pose substantial risks to the health of the public and take a devastating toll on our
communities and especially our children.
In Georgia, in 2023, three (3) children have been shot and over thirty (30) injured by guns. Just last week, a 9-year-old got a gun and accidentally shot himself in west Macon. HB 161 is a reasonable step that a responsible person would take to prevent the access to a readily dischargeable firearm by a child, by placing a firearm in a locked container or temporarily rendering the firearm inoperable by a trigger lock or other means.
As confirmed in a UGA poll, we are confident that most Georgians favor making our communities safer.
Gun violence is the #1 cause of death in children and teens.
The top cause of death via gun violence is suicide, and access to a firearm increases the risk of lethal suicide attempts, particularly in adolescents.
Polling shows that most Georgians are in favor of common-sense gun safety legislation.
Laws requiring people to secure their weapons, or simply to ensure that kids don’t get ahold of them through Safe Storage Bills, reduce the risk that children will shoot themselves or others, according a growing body of evidence. But only 23 states and the District of Columbia have passed gun safety laws. Georgia has an opportunity to protect our children by passing HB 161. At Georgia Coalition for Safer Communities, we are not about removing legally obtained guns; some of us are legal, responsible gun owners. We are concerned citizens from our public health, medical, education, business and faith-based communities’ using evidence-based data on gun violence in Georgia and applying the same public health research approach used to study the causes and effect of diseases such as cancer and HIV, and other forms of violence such as child abuse and sexual violence. We can develop and apply policies and strategies to help reduce gun violence that kills or injures our children. in our state.
We urge you to pass HB 161 to protect our children. We can protect the second amendment at the same time as we protect our citizens and children. Implementing gun safe storage legislation and prevention methods while treating trauma injury, are quite simply common sense.
We appreciate your service to Georgia and your commitment to keeping our
communities and our children safe. Our youth is depending on you.
Dorothy Leone-Glasser, RN, HHC
Advocates for Responsible Care/ Georgia Coalition for Safe Communities
firstname.lastname@example.org; 404.633.5843; 678.778. 3614
Georgia Coalition for Safe Communities (GCSC)
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