STARKS, La. — The Louisiana chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statements in response to the shooting in Starks, a rural Louisiana town on Sunday morning. Reports show that the girl and friends were playing hide and seek when a man began shooting at them as they ran away from his house, striking one of the girls in the back of the head. She was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. This is at least the fourth incident in the past month where young people were shot under similar circumstances.
“The gun lobby and their elected allies across America, and right here in Louisiana, have created a ‘shoot first’ reality for my generation. Something as harmless and innocent as playing a game with other children can end in gunfire,” said Kylie Andreasen, a volunteer with the Louisiana chapter of Students Demand Action. “Our leaders must do more to prioritize our safety and put an end to our terrifying reality: any adult armed with a deadly weapon can shoot innocent children whenever without a thought. We cannot bear the burden of their inactions any longer. Innocent children cannot keep dying at the hand of their irresponsibility.”
“In the past month, multiple teenagers have been shot doing things as simple as playing with friends or driving home from cheer practice. I am terrified that this is the world my children are growing up in – and where their lawmakers adamantly refuse to protect them,” said Kiara Phillips, a volunteer with the Louisiana chapter of Moms Demand Action. “This legislative session, Louisianan lawmakers have the opportunity to pass several critical gun violence prevention measures, and we will be there every step of the way to ensure they act to protect us, not sit idly by as our kids continue to die at the hands of the gun lobby’s ‘guns everywhere,’ ‘shoot first’ reality.”
The shooting occurred shortly after the mass shooting at a mall in Allen, Texas where at least eight people were shot and killed, seven more shot and wounded, and following a string of incidents where teenagers were senselessly shot. The shootings, including that of Ralph Yarl, a Black teenager who was shot and severely wounded by a white homeowner in Kansas City, Missouri after mistakenly going to the wrong house to pick up his younger siblings, continues to reignite the national conversation about Shoot First laws, also known as ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws, which creates a world where paranoid adults, armed with deadly weapons, can shoot and kill children with no warning.
Louisiana has the 2nd-highest rate of gun deaths in the US. In an average year, 1,125 people die and 2,936 are wounded by guns in Louisiana. Guns are the leading cause of death among children and teens in Louisiana. In Louisiana, an average of 138 children and teens die by guns every year, of which 18% of these deaths are suicides and 76% are homicides. More information about gun violence in Louisiana is available here.
If you are interested in speaking with a Louisiana Moms Demand Action or Students Demand volunteer, or a policy expert please reach out to [email protected].