Last Friday’s shooting at a food truck in Mesa — which killed 1-year-old Sebastian Duran and wounded two of his siblings, ages six and 16 — is a tragic reminder of the consequences of how unchecked gun violence affects children, teens and the Latino community in Arizona.
The numbers speak for themselves:
- Firearms are the second leading cause of death among children and teens in Arizona.
- The rate of gun deaths for Latinos in Arizona is 55% higher than the national rate.
- Across the county, Latino children and teens are three times more likely to be killed in a gun homicide than their white peers.
The shooting came just days after the end of Latino Heritage Month, during which Everytown released recommendations on how state and local leaders can act to protect Latino communities. The recommendations include:
- Funding community-based violence intervention programs that identify individuals who are at the highest risk of shooting or being shot and work to reduce violence through targeted interventions.
- Implementing policies that reduce police gun violence. Law enforcement agencies should have strong guardrails on when police may use force against civilians, ensure police are held accountable when force is used and prioritize de-escalation, dignity, and respect.
- Prohibiting all people convicted of hate crimes from having guns. While a felony conviction prohibits gun possession under federal law, a hate crime misdemeanor conviction does not.
- Passing extreme risk laws, which allow family members and law enforcement to ask a judge for an order to temporarily remove guns from a person who poses a serious risk of injuring others (or themselves) with a gun.
If you are interested in learning more about the effect of gun violence on children and teens and in the Latino community, please don’t hesitate to reach out.