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Officials say rise in child victims of gun violence is avoidable

Posted at 7:06 PM, Jun 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-21 19:26:52-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Hospital workers in Richmond say they've seen an increase in the number of children coming in with gunshot wounds. They say that in many cases, it's a problem that is completely avoidable.

Officials at the Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU say that the spike in gun violence is coming primarily from kids getting their hands on unsecured firearms.

June 21 is called "ASK Day", which stands for "Asking Saves Kids" Lives.

Experts say the focus is making sure that caregivers feel comfortable having conversations about proper gun storage.

Health care and public safety officials met with families visiting the children's hospital on Monday to discuss this and to give out free gun locks to those who wanted them.

Dr. Laura Boomer is a pediatric trauma expert and treats many of these young patients. She said that the injuries are devastating for the victims and also for their communities.

"These injuries can either be very minor, sometimes not even requiring a hospital stay. Or it can cause devastating injuries or even fatalities. It affects not only the children but their parents, their families, their siblings and their communities," Boomer said.

She said that they want to normalize discussions about gun safety in homes.