The latest one…Arizona 5-year-old finds dad’s gun, fatally shoots self

September 30, 2016 – Arizona Republic

Avondale police say a 5-year-old boy is dead after a shooting on Wednesday, Sept. 28.

The news of the shooting shocked neighbors and friends who described the boy as “free-spirited” and “full of life.”

Police say a 5-year-old Avondale boy who died Wednesday morning shot himself in the head using his father’s handgun.

Avondale police had not released the boy’s name by Wednesday night, and a spokesman said no charges are pending as the investigation continues.

The shooting happened about 9:20 a.m. in an apartment near Seventh Street and Dysart Road.

The boy’s mother told police that she heard a bang and entered a bedroom to find her 5-year-old with an apparent gunshot wound. Also found in the room was a 9mm handgun that belonged to the boy’s father, who was not present, said Officer Ray Emmett, an Avondale police spokesman.

Emmett said two other children were home at the time, but an investigation determined no one else had been in the room with the boy when the gun was fired.

Officers attempted lifesaving efforts until Avondale Fire Department personnel arrived and took the boy to Abrazo West Campus in Goodyear, where he was pronounced dead, Emmett said.

Boy described as full of life

The shooting shocked friends and neighbors who described the boy as full of life.

Next-door neighbor Brittany Jones identified the boy’s mother as a single mom with three other children, ages 1, 3 and 4.

“She’s a very friendly and great person who I have become very close with,” Jones said of her neighbor of two years. “The boy was free-spirited and full of life. He was so smart.”

Jones has a 5-year-old son who was friends with the boy. The two would hang out in front of their houses, riding scooters, she said.

“I don’t know what to say to him,” Jones said as she was heading to the bus stop to pick up her son after school. “I will explain to him the seriousness of picking up something that you come across. But, honestly, how can I tell him what happened to his friend?”

Jones said she was surprised to hear that a gun was involved because she didn’t know if the family had a gun. Police have not yet released how the gun was in the home at the time of the shooting.

‘A young couple who cares about their family’

Neighbor Sophia Terry said she would see the boy’s father, who visits frequently, pick his son up at the bus stop often.

“They were a young couple who cares about their family,” Terry said. “Many parents around here let their kids run around and do whatever they want. They were different. They sat outside when the kids played and watched them.”

Terry said she has been neighbors with the family for three years.

“This neighborhood is just like any other neighborhood in the West Valley,” she said, saying that while she doesn’t have a gun in her home, she could see why others might. She said she has called police to the area about 10 times in the three years she has lived here.

 Police said it’s important for people to safely secure their guns, particularly if children are in the household.

“Just like watching your kids around water, you have to watch your kids around safety arms,” Emmett said. “There also have to been secondary measures in place such as where you keep the ammo and trigger locks.”

Parents Not Talking to Pediatricians About Gun Safety, New Washington University in St. Louis Survey Says

September 15, 2016 – U.S. News and World Report

We are pleased to see Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis taking the lead in keeping kids safe at home from firearms.  This report is disturbingly evident that doctors absolutely MUST talk gun safety with families.  

courtesy of U.S. News

courtesy of U.S. News & World Report

A recent study from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that half of children in a survey of parents were exposed to firearms at home, but that few parents had discussed gun safety with pediatricians.

The small study was published Wednesday in The Journal of Pediatrics. Researchers surveyed 1,246 parents at pediatric practices in Missouri and Illinois for about two months last spring in urban, suburban and rural locales. A little more than one-third – 36 percent – said there were firearms at home, according to a news release.

SEE THE STUDY HERE.

In addition, 14 percent of parents who didn’t have firearms at home reported their childrenspent time in gun-owning homes. Of the one-quarter of firearm-owning parents who had at least one loaded weapon at home, 14 percent said children could access the guns.

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests pediatricians discuss gun safety with parents and says that a house sans guns makes for optimal safety. The organization also wants pediatricians to speak to parents about safe gun storage.

Shootings remain extremely prevalent in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that firearm-related incidents killed 2,465 children and adolescents (under age 20) in 2013, the latest available year of data.

“A conversation about firearm safety needs to happen between parents and physicians, but it is not,” study author Dr. Jane M. Garbutt said in the news release. “Physicians are concerned about offending and losing patients.”

Tennessee Now Leads Nation in Fatal Accidental Shootings

September 13, 2016 – Media release by SafeTennesseeProject.org

(NASHVILLE) – Tennessee now ranks first in the nation for fatal unintentional shootings according to the most recent data from The Centers for Disease Control.  Previously, Tennessee ranked 9th based on statistics from 2013, when 19 Tennesseans died in accidental shootings.  In 2014, the number jumped to 105. Unintentional shootings involving adults most often occur when gun owners fail to clear the chamber before cleaning or handling firearms or when loaded guns are dropped. Unintentional shootings involving children most often occur when children gain access to unsecured, loaded guns that have not been safely stored. Indeed, just over a week ago, a 3-year-old Nashville toddler shot himself in the hand with a gun he found in his father’s backpack and,  a mother in Blount County unintentionally and tragically shot her 9-year-old child in the head.  There were two adult accidental shootings in Clarksville over the past weekend.

Tennessee’s jump is even more remarkable because the number of unintentional shootings surpassed those in states with far higher populations.

“We’ve actually been aware of the new numbers for several months, but the increase was so dramatic that we wanted to confirm the numbers before reporting them,” said Beth Joslin Roth, Policy Director for The Safe Tennessee Project. “We reached out to the CDC who explained that the numbers in their national database were uploaded directly from the state health departments.  We then reached out to the Tennessee Department of Health who checked their records and verified that the numbers were in fact correct.”

Tennessee is not only first in the nation for fatal unintentional shootings, the Volunteer state leads by a wide margin.

Data on unintentional shooting deaths is sourced from the National Vital Statistics System and is accessible through the fatal injury reports from the CDC’s WISQARS (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System) online database.  The CDC numbers reflect state-specific data on fatalities provided directly from each state’s Department of Health.  Unintentional shooting injuries, even serious ones, are not reflected in the number and are not factored into the rankings.

“Nationally, unintended shooting rates tend to rise most dramatically in states that allow the easiest access to firearms and in instances where safe-storage practices are not observed,” said Jonathan M. Metzl, Research Director of the Safe Tennessee Project.  “But beyond that our understanding of the best ways to prevent these tragic deaths is severely hindered by the Congressional ban on funding gun-violence prevention research.”

Tennessee’s jump in unintended shooting deaths impacted persons in all age ranges, with the highest numbers seen in the age ranges of 20-24-year-olds (19 deaths), 40-44-year-olds (12 deaths), and 25-29-year-olds 11 deaths).  The vast majority of unintentional shooting fatalities were men (93 deaths) compared to only 12 women.  And 79 of the unintentional shooting death victims were listed as white, while 25 were African-American. The race of the one remaining death was not specified.

The Safe Tennessee Project, a nonpartisan gun-violence prevention organizaton, also tracks media reports of accidental shootings in Tennessee in an online searchable database that lists the circumstances of the incidents, the type of firearm involved, where the shooting took place, whether or not the gun owner was a permit holder, and whether charges were filed as a result of the shooting.

“However, the incidents we track are based on media reports only, and are likely an undercount,” according to Roth.  “Many accidental shootings don’t make the news.”

“The dramatic jump in unintentional shootings deaths in our state is a cause for alarm and a call to action,” said Metzl.  “Legislation could make such effective strategies as gun-safety locks, smart guns, or gun safes as common as seat belts are in cars.  This data truly should be a wake-up call for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.”


Information about the WISQARS database appears on the CDC website, and more detailed analysis of trends in Tennessee can be found on the Safe Tennessee Project website.

A summary of Tennessee’s 2016 unintentional shootings can be found here.

In 2016, Toddlers Have Shot More People in the U.S. Than Muslim Terrorists Have

ORIGINALLY from May 2, 2016 by Mic.com – Zak Cheney Rice, @zakcheneyrice

THIS IS FROM MAY BUT WE REALLY THOUGHT YOU SHOULD SEE IT AGAIN. 

NUMBERS HAVE INCREASED SINCE MAY TO 42.  WE ARE NOT KIDDING.

Donald Trump has made a big deal out of barring Muslims from entering the United States on the basis that some might be terrorists sneaking in to stage attacks. But the real front line in protecting Americans’ safety may be much closer to home.

America’s own playpens.

According to the Washington Post, our nation’s nurseries are housing more than just unbearable levels of cuteness: Twenty-three people have been shot by toddlers in the U.S. since the start of 2016 — exactly 23 more than have been shot by Muslim terrorists over the same period.

Read more: 23 Reasons Why We Definitely Don’t Need Any Gun Safety Reforms Ever

In 2016, Toddlers Have Shot More People in the US Than Muslim Terrorists Have
Source: Mic/Washington Post

Scary: Yet the threat posed by America’s gun-toting 3-and-unders hasn’t drawn nearly the same backlash as that against Muslims — begging the question of why our leaders are ignoring what, from a statistical standpoint, has proven the much bigger danger to our survival this year.

So far, no one has called for a “temporary ban” on babies leaving the hospitals in which they were born. No pundit or law enforcement official has advocated a more aggressive vetting process for toddlers passing through America’s airports, or OK’ed a multimillion-dollar police surveillance campaign to monitor places toddlers are known to frequent.

courtesy of The Washington Post

courtesy of The Washington Post

This is clearly to our detriment as a nation: Eleven of the toddler shooting cases in 2016 have been fatal, nine of which involved the toddler getting hold of a handgun and shooting him or herself, according to the report.

But it’s unclear what environmental factors are responsible for these tragedies, making it difficult to identify a concrete solution. The Post reports that Georgia and Missouri — where the largest number of toddler shootings have occurred since 2015 — have pretty lax laws governing how guns are stored to keep them away from kids.

Mic recently suggested that more “gun-friendly” states — including Missouri, Georgia, Florida and Texas — saw higher rates of toddler-related gun violence because guns are more readily available there.

This is far from a definitive answer, but regardless, the threat appears to be growing: Over the same four-month period last year, only 18 people were shot by toddlers in the U.S.