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.

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CFSA Presents at National Gun Violence Prevention Conference

Our Co-director, Beth Joslin Roth presented the work of CFSA at the annual National Gun Violence Prevention Coalition conference last week in Washington D.C. hosted by the Center for American Progress.  Not even 2 months old, CFSA was hailed as one of the new gun violence prevention organizations doing good work across the country.

CFSA was thrilled to have terrific partners with us at the conference, including (l to r) Dr. Stephanie Bonne, Co-Chair of the American Medical Women’s Association Gun Violence Task Force, Newark NJ; MO State Rep. Stacey Newman, CFSA Co-Director, St. Louis, MO; Beth Joslin Roth, CFSA Co-Director, Memphis, TN and Poli Rijos-Saitta, Gun Violence Initiative director, Institute for Public Health, Washington University, St. Louis, MO.

The news of the day was sobering with 259 children under 18 years of age as of November 30, 2016 unintentionally shot this year.  Numerous states do not yet have laws holding adults criminally responsible for these shootings or laws requiring firearms to be stored securely away from children.

Many physicians, lawmakers and gun violence advocates asked to become partners with us at the conference, eager to work alongside CFSA in their own states and communities to “stop kids shooting kids”.  We’d love you to work with you also —just click HERE to become a CFSA endorser also.

New CDC Data Understate Accidental Shooting Deaths of Kids

We knew that child gun deaths were underreported.  We also knew we are essentially limited by police reports and diligent media around the country. This is exactly why Children’s Firearm Safety Alliance began our own data collection – HERE.  We also know that even we are missing incidents and need the federal government to make child gun deaths a priority.  Exactly how many children are we willing to sacrifice to the gun lobby before we all get serious? 
December 9, 2016 – by the Chicago Tribune

A review of shootings nationwide by The Associated Press and USA TODAY Network found that at least 141 deaths of minors were attributed to unintentional or accidental shootings in 2015 — 83 percent higher than what the Centers for Disease Control reported.

Advocates for stricter laws and new technology meant to keep guns away from children argue that many of the deaths are preventable, and the undercount is significant because it can skew the public policy debate. Lobbyists for the firearms industry, including the National Rifle Association, cite the CDC statistics to argue that such deaths are so rare that voluntary education — not additional laws or regulations — are needed.

CDC officials have acknowledged that their statistics are low because they rely on how coroners classify the fatalities on death certificates. Some coroners rule deaths in which one child unintentionally shoots another as a homicide — rather than an accidental discharge — because they fit the definition of being killed by another. They also can classify them as undetermined if the intent is unclear — for example, if it’s not certain whether a minor committed suicide or accidentally shot himself.

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Smart Guns WOULD Save Kid’s Lives So Why Can’t We Have Them?

The New York Times ran this editorial on November 27, 2016 – one on which we entirely agree.  Yes – why doesn’t the gun lobby want to at least save the lives of little kids who should not be accessing dangerous weapons?

The Department of Justice has issued official guidelines for the manufacture of smart guns — weapons that, like smartphones, have technology to allow only the rightful owners to use them. The guidelines aim to “shape the future of gun safety technology,” as called for under an executive order issued in January by President Obama, in the face of Congress’s refusal to deal with the nation’s horrendous toll of gun deaths.

Nearly 7,000 children committed suicide with guns from 1999 to 2014, and thousands of people are killed every year with misappropriated guns. How many lives might be saved if guns were equipped with fingerprint scanners, radio frequency chips or other evolving technology that blocks anyone but the owner from using them?

The National Rifle Association gun lobby was quick to sneer that the guidelines, issued on Nov. 16, were a desperate effort by Mr. Obama to claim “a ‘win’ during his waning days in office.” Actually, the guidelines reignite the promise of smart guns — a promise cut short 16 years ago when the N.R.A. led a boycott of Smith & Wesson after the gun manufacturer pledged in a White House agreement to explore smart-gun technology.

The technology is available.

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