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


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.


Between June 14th and June 21st, there were at least NINE shootings involving children with access to loaded guns.  Of those nine shootings, five resulted in fatalities.  The youngest victim was a 3-year-old who fatally shot himself.

Earlier this week, Pediatrics published a new study from the CDC on the number of children inured and killed each year by gunshots.  According to the study, over 7,000 children each year are require medical attention after being shot – nearly 1300 children die and 5790 are treated for gunshot wounds each year.  

While many of these injuries and fatalities are related to homicide or attempted homicide, many are related to suicides (which showed a 60% increase from 2007 to 2014) and unintentional shootings.  The shooter playing with a gun was the most common circumstance surrounding unintentional firearm deaths of both younger and older children.

This is what a week of unintentional shootings involving kids with access to loaded, irresponsibly stored guns looks like.  The shootings happen across the country, north, south, east, and west.  They happen in rural, urban, and suburban areas, and to families of different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. They happen when toddlers pick up a gun and when older kids who know better pick up a gun.  Sometimes the child shoots themselves and sometimes the child shoots someone else, often a sibling or family member.  The only common denominator in all of them is an adult gun owner’s negligent and reckless decision to leave their firearm unsecured.

#SafeStorageSavesLives     #NotAnAccident 

June 21, 2017 – Memphis, TN – 15-year-old injured
A 15-year-old unintentionally shot himself at a house to police. His condition is unknown.

June 20, 2017 – Clinton Township, MI – 3-year-old killed
The parents of a 3-year-old boy told investigators they were outside when they heard a loud bang and found the toddler with a gunshot wound. Police say it appears the boy — who’d been playing with some other children — found, picked up and himself fired the handgun

June 19, 2017 – Barberton, OH – 13-year-old killed
A 13-year-old boy died Monday after he shot himself in the head while playing with a gun. He was a friend’s house with other kids.  Investigators have not said how the boys got the gun.

June 18, 2017 – Chestnuthill Township, PA – 4-year-old killed
A 4-year-old child gained access to a loaded gun and fatally shot himself in the head with it.

June 18, 2017 – Rosamond, CA – 16-year-old injured
A 16-year-old and his cousin were looking at a gun in Rosamond when it accidentally went off, striking the cousin of the 16-year-old.

June 17, 2017 – Orlando, FL – 11-year-old injured
An 11-year-old boy was taken to the hospital after accidentally shooting himself in the eye at his home.  He was taken to the hospital in grave condition.

June 16, 2017 – Union County, SC – Adult injured
A 13-year-old and 22-year-old were fishing on a pond. The sheriff says the boy dropped a gun and it shot the man, who was also taken to the hospital for treatment.

June 16, 2017 – Spartanburg, SC – 4-year-old killed
A 4-year-old girl was accidentally fatally wounded Friday by her 6-year-old sibling in Spartanburg, S.C. Officers who arrived at the scene said the victim’s 6-year-old sibling accidentally discharged a handgun and the bullet struck the 4-year-old.

June 14, 2017 – Tulsa, OK – 17-year-old killed
Three teens were hanging out in a garage and were handling a shotgun. According to the two survivors, the gun was placed on an appliance where it was knocked off, causing it to discharge, striking and killing one of the teens.  No charges have been filed.