It’s Not Been A Good Year for Kids and Negligently Stored Guns – And the Year Isn’t Over Yet

*This post has been updated with new numbers.  Since Friday, a shooting earlier this week in Knoxville, Tennessee involving a 16-year-old has been classified as a self-inflicted, unintentional shooting and another child, a 1-year-old in Memphis, Tennessee was shot and killed by a 3-year-old sibling with a gun left on a bed near the infant.

With just over seven weeks remaining in 2017, according the CFSA database we have already surpassed the total number of children injured by negligently stored firearms, and are close to tying the total number of children killed.  These numbers will only increase as the year draws to a close.  Unintentional shooting incidents spike around the holidays when kids are at home. Last December, there were 38 total incidents, resulting in the deaths of 16 kids and one adult. Continue Reading

Kids, Guns, and Cars Are A Dangerous Combination

Responsible storage means storing guns responsibly at all times, whether they are in a home or in a vehicle. Leaving guns unsecured in cars not only greatly increases the chances of theft, it also greatly increases the chances of a child finding the gun and pulling the trigger.  So far this year, there have been 24 cases of a child shooting themselves or someone else in a car. 

Six of those shootings have occurred this month. Continue Reading

WHAT IS HAPPENING IN TENNESSEE? OVER THREE DAYS, THREE KIDS UNINTENTIONALLY SHOT THEMSELVES

From The Safe Tennessee Project:

Over a three day period, three Memphis children shot themselves with negligently stored firearms. On Friday, a 4-year-old little girl was home with two other other children and their father when she picked up a gun and unintentionally shot herself with it.  She was taken to the hospital in critical condition.  Just one day later on Saturday, a 4-year-old boy unintentionally shot himself.  He was taken to the hospital in critical condition and later died. Then, on Sunday, an 8-year-old boy found his father’s gun hidden under a pillow and shot himself with it.  He did not survive. Continue Reading

The Houston Chronicle Gets It – Yes, Even in Texas Kids Matter

July 29, 2017 – The Houston Chronicle Editorial

Kids and guns

Shooting deaths could be reduced, yet elected officials are reluctant to act.

It’s beginning to feel like Groundhog Day; bad news about gun violence keeps popping up with maddening regularity.

Today we learn that 3.5 children die from gun violence every day and 15.5 more are injured. Specifically, a study in the journal Pediatrics has reported that between 2012 and 2014, 1,300 kids a year, on average, were shot and killed, making firearms second only to motor vehicle accidents as a cause of injury-related deaths. And make no mistake about it, this is a uniquely American tragedy. Among the world’s 23 richest countries, the United States accounts for a whopping 91 percent of all firearm related deaths of children under 14, according to the Los Angeles Times.

 Some of the statistics are painfully predictable. Homicides accounted for 53 percent of the deaths, and adolescent boys aged 14 to 17 years were the vast majority of those killed. (The study defined children as 0 to 17 years of age.) African American kids were the most likely victims.

Not so expected was a significant rise in suicides, which accounted for 38 percent of deaths. Suicide by gun among youngsters has climbed 60 percent since 2007. These victims were more likely non-Hispanic whites or Native Americans.

The children who fit the category of unintentional firearm injuries – “accidents” – are the most difficult to contemplate. They were often shot at home by another child while playing with a gun or showing it off. Too many of these children are toddlers. An investigative report by the Washington Post in 2015 found 43 instances when a toddler younger than 3 years old shot somebody; thirteen killed themselves. It is a parent’s worst nightmare.

The Pediatrics study is so disheartening because with the exception of homicides, most of these shootings are easily preventable. All it would take is a genuine effort to improve gun safety in the home and to remove impediments to the development and sale of smart guns. As for homicides – and suicides – we need a better understanding of the societal, cultural, and familial pressures that drive a kid to kill kids – or himself. Congress should repeal the Dickey Amendment, which has for 20 years prevented the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from undertaking research into gun violence.

Strengthening Child Access Prevention laws, which hold gun owners accountable for safe storage of firearms, would have a significant impact on child shooting deaths, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. There are no CAP laws at the federal level, and only 27 states have some form of the law, ranging from relatively strong to very weak. Texas has one of the stronger laws, and it is only a misdemeanor.

The most effective solution, of course, would be built-in technologies that make guns child-proof. Consumers have come to accept child-proof caps on medicines, finger-print protected smart phones, and are well on their way to accepting self-driving cars. So why not smart gun technology, which is designed to prevent anyone other than the owner from firing a weapon?

The National Rifle Association and its lobbying arm have used their significant power over elected officials to prevent progress on all these fronts. Why? Because they view each as a ploy by enemies of Second Amendment rights to confiscate their guns. Truth is, some serious gun control advocates don’t much like the idea of a technological solution either since they fear safer guns will make it harder to ban or limit firearms.

Our representatives in Austin and Washington D.C., could settle this argument once and for all.

Take the side of their youngest constituents and just say no to the NRA. Require under penalty of law that guns be safely stored, support research into the causes and prevention of gun violence, and encourage development of smart gun technology. But don’t take too long. Kids are dying every day.

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Kids-and-guns-11718102.php

THE NATION’S SHAMEFUL PROBLEM WITH KIDS AND UNINTENTIONAL SHOOTINGS ISN’T GETTING BETTER

There are many things that are unique to the United States.  Unfortunately, one of them is the number of our children who are injured and killed when they find unsecured, loaded guns and fire them.  These shootings are #NotAccidents.  They are the direct result of an adult’s choice not to store their gun responsibly.  In the first week of July, there were fourteen shootings involving kids with access to negligently stored firearms.  Seven of the kids died.  The youngest was only 3-years-old.

There has been an uptick in incidents this year compared to 2016.  Although the number of fatalities remains close, the number of incidents and number of injuries have increased significantly.

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So far this year – January 1 to present —

Total incidents: 189*
Injuries: 125
Fatalities: 67

*Includes incidents where more than one child were injured or killed in single shooting incident.

The youngest shooter was a Nashville 1-year-old

106 of the shooters were 13 or younger

10 children shot a cousin or relative

1 child, a 2-year-old toddler, shot and injured his mother

28 children shot a sibling. 10 of those siblings died.

120 shootings occurred at the shooter’s home

12 shootings occurred at a friend’s home

14 shootings occurred in a vehicle

This summer in America – June 1 to present —

Total incidents: 48*
Injuries: 29
Fatalities: 21

*Includes incidents where more than one child were injured or killed in single shooting incident.

Nationally, there has been an uptick incidents this year compared to 2016.  Although the number of fatalities remains close, the number of incidents and number of injuries have increased significantly.