The National Association of Social Workers – New York State Chapter (NASW-NYS) offers its heartfelt condolences to the students, faculty, and families of the Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas. We share your loss and grief at the senseless tragedy.
Once again, our nation is grieving over the deaths of innocent people in a school shooting. Enough is enough. We demand that Congress treats gun violence as a public health crisis and pass meaningful gun control legislation to curtail this nation’s gun death epidemic. NASW-NYS would like to reiterate that the issue of addressing gun violence is distinct from the right to own firearms. Our focus is to mobilize legislators, stakeholders, and the community to reduce gun-related deaths and injuries through honest dialogue and sensible gun reform that keeps dangerous weapons out of the wrong hands.
Gun violence is a public health crisis that impacts individuals and families from every culture, age group, and geographical area in the United States. In the July 2017 NASW Social Justice Brief “Gun Violence in the American Culture,” NASW took the position that gun violence has reached such epidemic proportions that federal and state health officials must declare this to be a national public health emergency. In doing so, public health officials around the country will be mandated to allocate funds and develop coordinated strategies to significantly reduce gun-related deaths and injuries. Our association strongly urges the implementation of sensible gun laws that ban the sale of assault rifles and high capacity magazines, and we further urge federal and state governments to move to pass background check laws for all gun purchases.
The time for action is long overdue. Our state and country have the expertise and resources to develop a comprehensive solution based on research and evidence-based policy to end gun violence, but we cannot get to those solutions until our country admits that it has a serious gun problem and prioritizes the safety of our children.
All of us share the responsibility to make our country a safe place to work, learn, live, and play. Our schools and our communities are no exception. Our children deserve to have an uninterrupted education without any fear or threat to their physical and mental well-being.
NASW will continue to work through our partnership with the Brady Institute for Gun Violence to advocate for sensible gun laws to keep people safe and we also ask our members to join us in this effort to end gun violence by calling your members of congress to establish a federal commission to address gun violence in our country and pass meaningful gun laws.
As these preventable tragedies continue with increasing frequency, it is clear we must raise our voices louder until meaningful action is taken.