URBANA, Ill., (WCIA) — Healthcare companies are trying to crack down on gun violence and there’s a new campaign to get people talking.
Discussing gun violence at the dinner table isn’t something that normally happens, but health experts said it’s a topic that needs to be aired out.
That’s because a New England Journal of Medicine study reported that guns are the number one killer among kids ages 1-19.
170 healthcare facilities, including OSF, are now part of a national gun safety movement called “Doesn’t Kill to Ask.” They’re hoping to change the numbers.
“Gun safety is one of those things that sometimes can be an awkward conversation to have,” Kurt Bloomstrand, the EMS medical director at OSF’s Urbana hospital, said. “It’s okay to ask your family and your friends, ‘do you have a gun in the home? If you do have a gun, is it safely stored away? Is it locked?'”
He said asking those questions can help bring down gun-related deaths and injuries.
Bloomstrand said that can include anything from homicide, victims of gun violence, suicide, or unintentionally discharging a firearm.
“Give parents the tools and the resources they need to empower them to ask such, what might be considered, taboo questions,” he added.
Across the country, 13 children die from gun violence every day. From 2019-2020 the same New England Journal of Medicine study said there was a 30% increase in deaths among children and adults related to gun violence.
With those numbers, Bloomstrand hopes people are listening and starting talking.
“It does not kill to ask. It’s okay to ask the tough questions about gun safety and promote that environment of safety.”
In the past, before 2020, car crashes were the leading cause of death in children. Bloomstrand said there are many safety measures to make cars safer, and he wants to make sure there’s something similar in place for gun violence too.
To learn more and see the full list of hospitals involved, visit the HospitalsUnited website.