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As Reproductive Justice leaders have said for decades: If we can’t raise our children in safe, healthy environments, free from gun violence, and free from harm at the hands of law enforcement, there is no reproductive freedom.

The fight for reproductive freedom is fundamentally linked to the fight for gun safety — we deserve the right to raise the families we decide to build in communities that are protected from gun violence. But our ability to care for our children, protect them, and ensure they come home from school unharmed isn’t guaranteed. No one is safe in the United States. People can’t buy groceries or even attend their places of worship without the fear of being shot

Just like abortion bans, gun violence disproportionately impacts Black, Latino, and Indigenous people because of our country’s history of systemic racism and discrimination. We also can't ignore the common thread between mass shooters and the anti-abortion movement: misogyny. Women in the United States are 32 times more likely to be killed with a gun than in other high-income countries. Nearly 60% of the 749 mass shootings between 2014 and 2019 were either domestic violence attacks or committed by a person with a history of domestic violence. 

The politicians who block gun safety legislation and who block access to abortion are the same politicians who voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. That bill includes a provision to close the boyfriend loophole, which would ban dating partners who are convicted abusers from being able to possess a firearm.

Gun violence is a public health crisis — and we expect our elected leaders to respond to this crisis without delay. Since Colorado's Columbine High School shooting in 1999, more than 300,000 elementary, middle, and high school students have experienced gun violence at school. Gun violence is now the leading cause of death for American children — outpacing deaths from car accidents, cancer, and COVID-19 in 2020.

In the United States, there are more guns than people. We have the weakest gun laws in comparison to any other developed nation. While our elected leaders have a responsibility and the ability to save lives, pro-gun members of Congress have blocked any and all common sense gun safety legislation, including legislation with bipartisan support. For decades, anti-abortion, pro-gun politicians have worked to pack our courts, and implement policies aimed at maintaining power and control, which includes both banning abortion and blocking any restrictions on guns — all to protect and defend white supremacy. 

It’s no coincidence that that the same politicians passing abortion bans are refusing to take action on gun safety — they only care about controlling our bodies, our lives, or our futures. They have shown us time and time again that they value guns more than the lives of our children. The hypocrisy of this public health issue is deadly.

Tags: gun violence, Reproductive Justice