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.

In September alone:
Incidents: 6
Children Killed: 3
Adults Killed: 1
Children Injured: 2

Three of the shooters were under the age of 5.

Four kids shot themselves.

One kid shot a sibling, while another shot an uncle.

September 28, 2017 – Parma, OH
A 4-year-old boy found a loaded gun in a family member’s car and shot himself in the head with it.  He was transported to the hospital where he died.  No word on charges.

September 22, 2017 – Philadelphia, PA
The 3-year-old nephew of an off-duty police officer found his uncle’s gun under the front passenger seat of an SUV and unintentionally shot and wounded another uncle in the vehicle.  No one has been charged.

September 8, 2017 – Warrenton, VA
A 2-year old boy accidentally shot a 4-year-old girl after the children were left alone and unrestrained in a vehicle with an unsecured firearm. The parents initially said the girl had been bitten by a dog and drove away before later taking her to a hospital.  The father was charged with three counts of felony child abuse and neglect, reckless handling of a firearm and allowing children to access a firearm. He is a felon and should not be in possession of a gun.

September 7, 2017 – Statesville, NC
A 10-year-old boy went outside to feed the family dog.  While he was outside, he retrieved a pistol he knew was in the family car and shot himself in the head with it. His injuries were not life threatening. His mother was charged with misdemeanor failure to secure a firearm to protect a minor.

September 3, 2017 – Horn Lake, MS
A 9-year-old went out to a car to get something for a relative, found a gun under the driver’s seat, and accidentally shot himself in the chest.  He did not survive.  No charges will be filed.

September 2, 2017 – Tennessee
A 17-year-old boy unintentionally and fatally shot himself in a vehicle.  Police report he died of a single gunshot from a semi-automatic handgun.  The magazine had been removed but there was still a bullet in the chamber.  No charges have been filed.

On Friday, Four Kids Picked Up Unsecured Guns and Pulled the Trigger

August has been another terrible month for children shooting themselves or other people with negligently stored firearms.  In 28 days, there have been 33 shootings resulting in the deaths of 13 children and one adult.  18 children and one adult have been injured. 

Four shootings happened on Friday. 

Four in a single day.

Valley, Alabama
Early Friday morning, an 11-year-old was looking for medication in a drawer in his home when he found a pistol.  As the child was holding the gun, “It went off” striking him in the hand.  He was taken to the hospital.  No charges have been filed.

There have been eight of these incidents so far this year in Alabama.

Springfield, Missouri
Just before noon, a 14-year-old was home alone and heard a knock on the door around noon.  He grabbed a handgun and unintentionally shot himself in the leg with it.  No charges have been filed.  The boy’s injuries were not considered life-threatening.

There have been 12 of these incidents so far this year in Missouri.

Savannah, Georgia
Around 4:30pm, a 17-year-old boy unintentionally shot himself in the leg inside his home.  He was taken to the hospital with a non-life threatening injury.  No charges have been filed.

There have been 13 of these incidents so far this year in Georgia.

Wynnhaven, Florida
Around 8:30pm a toddler picked up a loaded gun and shot a man in the back with it.  After the man was taken to the hospital, deputies searched the home and found a gun, marijuana and heroin belonging to another resident. The gun’s owner was arrested and charged with heroin trafficking, marijuana distribution and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. This was the second time in a week that a young child unintentionally shot an adult with an unsecured, loaded gun.

There have been 18 of these incidents so far this year in Florida.

Tennessee, where three young children shot themselves with negligently stored guns last weekend, currently leads the nation with 20 of these shootings so far in 2017.


Gun violence is complicated.  Keeping guns out of the hands of children is not. Store guns responsibly. #SafeStorageSavesLives


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.

“Once again, we see the tragic consequences of negligent gun storage,” said Beth Joslin Roth, policy director for the Safe Tennessee Project. “These shootings are not accidents.  They are the direct result of an adult’s choice not to properly secure their firearm.  This continues to be a serious issue in our state. Yet for two years now, our legislature’s solution to the problem is to do absolutely nothing.”

In an in-depth USA Today/AP report of unintentional shootings of children last year, Memphis was ranked first in the nation while Nashville came in tenth.  A Johns Hopkins study published last year flagged Tennessee as one of seven states with a disproportionate number of unintentional shootings. 

None of those seven states have laws requiring the safe storage of guns.

Tennessee’s problem with these types of shootings is not getting better and is on pace to exceed the numbers from last year.  According to the database maintained by the Children’s Firearm Safety Alliance, an organization founded by Roth and Missouri state Senator Representative Stacey Newman, Tennessee currently leads the nation in shootings involving children with access to negligently stored firearms. 

Of all the cities in the country, Memphis ranks first. 

In Tennessee, there have been almost as many total incidents so far in 2017 as there were in all of 2016. There have been eight fatalities in 2017. There were seven in 2016. 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.


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.


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.

UPDATE: Another Terrible Month for Kids with Access to Unsecured Guns

*UPDATE: Another incident occurred on June 30th.  That brings total number of shootings in June to 34.  In the last week of June there were 14 shootings – 14 shootings in 7 days.

As June draws to a close, once again there were more kids shot as a result of negligently stored firearms (33) than there were days in the month.  This month also saw two incidents where a child unintentionally shot an adult, in one case killing the adult.

In the last week alone, there were at least 13 shootings that were the direct result of an adult’s careless choice to leave their firearm unsecured. Of those 13 shootings, three resulted in a fatality.  In one case, an 11-year-old in Montgomery, Alabama child was playing with a gun and unintentionally shot and injured a 16-year-old and killed a 9-year-old.  The 11-year-old has been charged with reckless murder and second-degree assault.  There have not been any charges filed against the adult gun owner.

13 shootings in 7 days.

These are not accidents.  They are fully preventable tragedies that are the direct result of adult negligence.  Every gun in a child’s hands must first pass through an adult’s.  The single most important responsibility of being a gun owner is keeping guns out of the hands of children.  Safe storage saves lives. 

JUNE 2017


Total incidents: 34

Children injured: 19

Children killed: 14

Adults injured: 1

Adults killed: 1

Children who shot themselves: 14

Children who shot a sibling: 7

Children who shot a friend: 9

Children who shot a cousin: 2

Shooters under age 13: 14

Shooters between ages 13-17: 16

Shooters between ages 1-3 (toddlers): 6

Youngest victim: 2-years-old (2 incidents, 1 fatality)

States with highest number of incidents: Ohio (4), Florida (3), South Carolina (3), Tennessee (3)

Data from the Children’s Firearm Safety Alliance (CFSA) database which uses news stories and police reports gathered by The Gun Violence Archive and news alerts.  More information on individual cases can be found in the searchable CFSA database.