Fighting Illegal Handguns - Stop Violence
By National Crime Prevention Council
Monday, March 17, 2008; 7:00 pm
|Fighting Illegal Handguns|
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- Show children how to settle arguments or solve problems without using words or actions that hurt others. Set the example by the way you handle everyday conflicts in the family, at work, and in the neigborhood. Don't forget that common courtesies like please, thank you, and excuse me help ease tensions that can lead to violence.
- Discourage name-calling and teasing. These can easily get out of hand, moving all too quickly from "just words" to fist, knives, and even firearms. Teach children that bullying is wrong and take their fears about bullies seriously.
- Take a hard look at what you, your family, and your friends watch and listen to for entertainment, from action movies and cop shows to video games and music lyrics. How do the characters solve problems? Do they make firearms and other violence appear exciting, funny, or glamorous? Are the real-life consquences of violence for victims and families clear? Talk about what each of you liked and didn't like.
- Stick with friends and family who steer clear of violenceand drugs. And encourage your children to do the same. Research shows use of alcohol and other drugs is closely linked with violence, including the use of guns and other weapons.
Take Action in the Community
- Be sure you know where and how to report potentially violent situations or concerns about conditions in the neighborhood that could lead to violence. Ask your police department for help in identifying what to report, when, to whom, and how.
- Consider organizing an event that lets people turn in weapons, or even objects that might be mistaken for real weapons, in exchange for books, coupons from local merchants, toys, or simply the satisfaction of making the community safer.
- Support schools and youth clubs in their efforts to keep guns, knives, and other weapons from menacing the everyday lives of children and teens. Encourage children to report any weapons they know about in or near school to school staff or the police.
- Look around to see what happens to young people after school hours. Are there supervised programs for younger children? Opportunities for teens and preteens to work with children, get or give help with homework, tackle neighborhood problems, or learn art, music, sports, or computer skills? In many areas, after -school programs are located in schools themselves and called Safe Havens or Beacon Schools.
- Start a discussion of neighborhood views on weapons in the home, children playing with toy weapons, children and violent entertainment, and how arguments should be settled. A PTA meeting, an informal social gathering, or a Neighborhood Watch meeting could provide the opportunity.
- Learn your state and local laws on firearms. Insist that these laws be enforced vigorously but fairly.
- Support police, prosecutors, judges, and other local officials who enforce laws designed to prevent gun violence.
Updated: 06/17/08; 5:19 pm