Accidental Shooting Deaths, Injuries spike over the Holidays

As of December 21, 2016, 113 kids have been shot & killed and 174 kids have been injured —by other kids.  Unintentionally.  With an adult’s gun.

This is NOT the way to celebrate the holidays —or to destroy a family forever.

December 21, 2016 by the USA TODAY Network 

The happiest of seasons is also among the deadliest: Unintentional shootings spike in the U.S. during the holidays, and are more likely to occur than any other time of the year, according to an analysis by The Associated Press and the USA TODAY Network.

In all, 32 people were killed nationwide and 59 injured over the past two years from Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day, which the analysis identified as the most likely day for accidental shootings each year. The victims were mostly male and young, with a median age of 19. Nearly half the shootings were self-inflicted, and most occurred in their own homes.

The victims are people like Tezlar Wayne Ross, a 20-year-old from Gaffney, South Carolina, who killed himself while playing with a handgun at his home last New Year’s Eve. His girlfriend and two other friends witnessed the accident in Ross’ bedroom, Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler said. Alcohol was not involved.

“They were absolutely clowning around,” Fowler said. “And sometimes that innocent fun, especially with a gun, can get you in trouble. A weapon like that is not a toy.”

Several factors contribute to the increase:

—Children and teenagers are out of school for the holidays and have access to unsecured guns at their homes and those of relatives and friends.

—Adults are drinking alcohol and inattentive to gun safety or their children.

—New guns are given and received as gifts in the tens of thousands.

—It’s a popular time of year for hunting.

The count does not include three deaths and 16 injuries involving guns fired into the air to celebrate the New Year.