Letter: Children and guns

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The devastating killing of the children in Colorado saddened me greatly but did not shock me. There is an epidemic of gun violence in the United States and children are the No 1 target.

In many cases, children are not only the victims but also the perpetrators. According to a 1994 Harris poll, in the United States 76 per cent of all schoolchildren said they could get a gun in 24 hours if they wanted to.

The reality is that more than 50 per cent of American homes have guns in them and, according to The New England Journal of Medicine, these guns are more likely to injure a family member than an intruder.

The epidemic of gun violence in the United States is increasing. That is clearly evidenced by the school-ground shootings over the past two years.

With 2,000 handguns coming off the assembly lines in California every day, teens will have guns and guns will be taken to school.

Speaking as a mother whose son was shot and paralysed eight years ago in the United States, I can tell you that every child in the US is at risk.

My David, at 12, was shot by an angry 16-year-old with his mother's gun. This happens in the US more than 15 times every day.

The gun is the reason why, two years ago, I brought my 12-year-old daughter here, safe from guns in schools. My son will never walk again. I would not see this happen to his sister.

One day I will return to my country once again to take up the fight for a safer America.

For now, as I keep my daughter safe in school here in England, my heart is with the children, the mothers and the families touched by the shootings in Colorado.

GLENDA LEE

Chair, Los Angeles Women Against Gun Violence

Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire

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