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.


2nd Toddler Shooting Today —Prayers Aren’t Cutting It

St. Louis Post-Dispatch recent headline

The 2nd toddler shooting a toddler incident happened today, one in Colorado and the other in Philadelphia. ANOTHER BABY who should have not died.

What seriously is wrong with us? Prayers just aren’t saving these little kids, regardless of what they might be telling you.

Holding adults responsible is a big solution.  About 25 states don’t have laws that allow prosecutors to hold gun owners liable if a child accessed a gun and pulled the trigger.  However, we expect adults who allow kids to be harmed in any other way to be charged with child abuse, right?

Until we get serious & vote with these kids in mind, nothing will change.

Toddler fatally shoots himself inside Pa. home

The case of a toddler who allegedly found a gun in a Delaware County, Pa., home this afternoon ended with deadly results.

6ABC in Philly is reporting police are investigating the shooting death of a toddler in Chester Township.

It happened around 3:30 p.m. Saturday on the 2900 block of Bethel Road, the station writes, adding:

A family member told Action News that the boy found the gun and accidentally shot himself.

FOX29 is reporting the child’s age as three-years old.

The police investigation continues.


For most families with kids and teens, May is an exciting month.  Kids are planning graduations and proms, parents are planning vacations.  The weather is warming up and parents and kids alike look forward to summer.  But for at least three dozen families, May was a month of tragedy after their children came in contact with loaded, negligently stored firearms.

In May,  a month with 31 days, at least 37 children pulled a trigger and unintentionally shot themselves or another person. Each month this year, the number of these incidents has ticked up by one to two shootings, but in May, the number went up by nine.  There were several days in May where there were multiple shootings involving kids with access to irresponsibly stored firearms.

Incidents by month:

January: 23
February: 24
March: 26
April: 28
May: 37

(For comparison, there were 23 incidents in May of 2016.)

Of the 37 incidents in May:

3 adults were injured
24 children were injured
10 children were killed

The youngest shooter was an 18-month-old in Tennessee who shot himself in the face.

Of the 37 incidents in May:

22 of the shooters were under the age of 13
12 children shot a friend, 3 were killed
2 children shot a sibling, 1 was killed.

These types of shootings are very rare in some states.  For example, between 2014 and 2016, Massachusetts, a state with safe storage laws, saw only 1 incident of a child fatally shot with an irresponsibly stored gun.  On the other end of the spectrum, these shootings occur with alarming regularity in other states.

Of the 37 incidents in May, over half occurred in just five states:

Indiana: 4
Louisiana: 4
Florida: 3
Tennessee: 3
Texas: 3

In May, there were 30 states where there was not a single unintentional shooting involving a child with access to unsecured guns.

Throughout 2017, there are some states with higher numbers of incidents:

Florida: 11
Louisiana: 9
South Carolina: 9
Tennessee: 9
Texas: 9

The numbers for 2017 are up from 2016.  Between January 1, 2016 and May 31, 2016, we logged 129 incidents.  Between January 1, 2017 and May 31, 2017, we logged 138.


Each one of these shootings was preventable.  Every gun in a child’s hand must first pass through an adult.  Gun violence is a complicated issue, but keeping guns stored responsibly is not complicated.  There are a number of policies and recommendations that have been shown to reduce the number of these preventable tragedies.

States with child access prevention and safe storage laws experience fewer of these types of shootings. Adult gun owners should be held responsible when their choice to leave a loaded gun unsecured results in a child’s injury or death.  Laws that operate as a deterrent, such as DUI laws, work.  While they may not prevent every incidents, they will prevent some and that’s significant, especially when prevention means fewer children shot and killed.

Parents must be educated about the vital importance of storing guns responsibly.  The most important responsibility of a gun owner, especially a gun owner with children, is to make absolutely certain that their gun does not end up in the wrong hands, including the hands of curious toddlers and young kids as well as tween and teens who are prone to making bad decisions.

Parents must ask how guns are stored any place their child plays or spends time, whether it is a friend’s house or the home of a relative.  Even if you store your guns responsibly (or don’t even have guns), never assume that other parents or family members do likewise.  This may especially be true of friends and relatives who don’t have children.  While it may feel awkward to ask, it’s better than losing a child.

Pediatricians should be allowed to – and encouraged to – ask parents how they store firearms.  This should be as routine as asking parents about car seats, pool safety, or smoke detectors.

Talk to your children about firearms and what to do if they encounter them.  Children should be taught not to ever touch or handle a gun unless they are under the direct supervision of an adult.  Even if you don’t have guns, it’s still important for your kids to know what to do if they find one at a friend’s house or if a friend tries to to show them one that belongs to a parent or family member. HOWEVER, do not ever assume that teaching your children about gun safety is enough to keep them safe from an unintentional shooting.  IT IS NOT. The onus on keeping kids safe is 100% on the adults in their lives.  Simply telling a child “Stop. Don’t Touch. Tell an adult” is not an effective way of preventing these shootings.  Numerous hidden camera studies conducted by behavioral psychologists have shown that kids, young kids through tweens and teens, are still very likely to pick up and handle a gun even after being trained to not touch and alert an adult.

These incidents are not accidents.  They are 100% preventable.  Each and every one is the fault of an adult’s negligence and carelessness.  Safe storage saves lives. Period.

Using data from the Gun Violence Archive and news alerts, The Children’s Firearms Safety Alliance tracks shootings involving children with access to unsecured and loaded guns. All incidents are logged into a searchable database


May 30 – Chickasha, OK
13-year-old Andrew White was fatally shot in the chest while at a friend’s house.  The police reported it to be a homicide but that they were not looking for suspects.  The young boy’s family said the shooting was accidental.  The boy was just days away from his 14th birthday.

May 29 – St. Petersburg, FL
Several children, supervised by a teen, were playing with a gun they found.  A 11-year-old boy thinking the gun was unloaded unintentionally shot a 10-year-old boy in the shoulder and arm.

May 29 – London, KY
A 15-year-old girl riding in the back of a car unintentionally shot the 16-year-old female driver in the back. The 25-year-old gun owner was in the car with the girls and was charged with unlawfully allowing a minor to possess a gun.

May 27 – Yukon, OK
A 2-year-old boy found a gun in his home and shot and injured himself in the head.

May 24 – Springfield, IL
A 13-year-old girl was unintentionally shot in the stomach by a 12-year-old boy at their grandmothers house.  She later died.  The boy could be charged with unlawful use of a weapon and reckless conduct.

May 23 – Tacoma, WA
A 16-year-old cleaning his gun unintentionally fired it, striking a 18-year-old male in the cheek.  A nearby school lockdown occurred until it was determined where the gunfire came from.

May 23 – Milwaukee, WI
A 2-year-old found his father’s loaded gun and unintentionally shot himself. The father of the child was arrested and could face charges.

May 22 – San Angelo, TX
A 3-year-old found a loaded handgun in a sofa and unintentionally shot himself in the face.

May 20 – Lafayette, IN
A 17-year-old cleaning a high powered rifle unintentionally firing it, hitting a 14-year-old girl sleeping in an apartment three apartments away.

May 20 – Campbellsville, KY
A 13-year-old boy playing with a gun unintentionally shot a 12-year-old friend.  They thought it was a toy gun.

May 20 – Des Plain, IL
A 10-year-old boy unintentionally shot his 15-year-old brother in the face. He lated died.

May 18 – Clark County, WA
A 16-year-old unintentionally shot a 19-year-old friend in the leg. The victim is expected to survive. The shooter was charged with reckless endangerment, unlawful possession of firearm and theft of firearm.

May 17 – Fresno, CA
An 11-year-old boy was babysitting his younger brother at a home when he found a gun under a bed. He fired the weapon, striking his brother in the leg.  The 4-year-old was taken to the hospital for treatment. He is expected to be okay.

May 17 – Jacksonville, FL
A 2-year-old was handling a loaded, unsecured gun and shot himself in the arm.  The child’s cousin was babysitting him at the time and has been taken into custody.  No word on what she will be charged with.

May 17 – Nashville, TN
A man was bathing his children around 2am.  He took the 1-year-old out and placed him on a bed and left the room,  The child found a loaded gun on the bed and fired it, grazing his face.  The father was charged.

May 16 – Bend, OR
A girl took the gun from her house to familiarize herself with it, and accidentally fired it while trying to “manipulate” the gun.  She was treated at the scene then airlifted to a nearby hospital. No criminal charges have been filed in the case.

May 16 – St. Louis, MO
A 6-year-old suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen.  Authorities believe that the injury was self-inflicted and unintentional.  Adults and other children were home at the time.

May 15 – Orange County, VA
A 4-year-old boy shot and killed himself Monday afternoon with a gun he found at a residential child care provider, which is also the home of a Stafford County Deputy Sheriff.

May 15 – Calcasieu Parish, LA
A 6-year-old child brought a loaded gun to school and dropped it.  Another child picked up and fired it, striking a nearby 7-year-old.

May 14 – Houston, TX
Two 9-year-olds were playing with a loaded 9mm gun when it discharged, striking one of the boys in the neck.  The boy’s family claims the gun was locked but that the 9-year-olds were able to break it.

May 13 – Goshen, IN
Two 15-year-olds were handling a gun, when one of the teens accidentally shot the other in the stomach.  The injured boy was airlifted and underwent surgery.  He’s expected to recover.–422191734.html

May 12 – Nashville, TN
A 3-year-old child was staying with a man and his wife when he found a loaded, unsecured gun in a bedroom and fired it, striking himself in the foot.

May 12 – Starr, SC
A 3-year-old boy died Friday after shooting himself with a gun he found in his family’s SUV outside their home.

May 11 – East Chicago, IN
A 4-year-old boy, just days away from turning five, accidentally shot and killed himself early Thursday morning after finding a gun in his home.

May 10 – Barrow County, GA
A 9-year-old had gotten off the bus from school shortly before gaining access to a gun and fatally shooting himself with it.–law/year-old-boy-dies-after-shooting-himself/Ebf7Okt8S1wHRPWnxD1JtN/

May 10 – Taylorsville, NC
A 15-year-old boy picked up a 9 mm pistol, accidentally causing it to fire. The teen was struck in the abdomen.  Witnesses told deputies that a group of teenagers had three firearms, including the pistol, laying on a swivel stool.

May 9 – Pekin, IN
Several teens were playing with a gun in a barn when it discharged, shooting a 16-year-old in the head.

May 9 – Spark, NV
Several teens had a gun in a car when it discharged, shooting a 15-year-old in the leg.  They dropped him off at a home and left him there bleeding.  Police are investigating.

May 8 – Eunice, LA
A 12-year-old boy was playing with a handgun, unloaded the magazine but didn’t clear the bullet in the chamber and shot himself in the head.  He died later that night.

May 8 – Birmingham, AL
A 2-year-old boy was unintentionally shot in the hand.

May 5 – Houma, LA
An 8 year old boy found one of his parents loaded AK-47 in the trunk of a car and unintentionally shot himself in the leg.

May 5 – Bradley County, TN
A 10-year-old boy was playing with his parent’s 9mm Glock handgun as he talked to a friend on his computer when he discharged the gun and shot himself in the arm.

May 5 – Baton Rouge, LA
Three teen/tween friend were playing with a handgun when it unintentionally fired, killing a 12 year old.  Three teen friend were playing with a handgun when it unintentionally fired, killing a 12 year old. The 13-year-old was charged with negligent homicide and a 12-year-old was charged with possession of a firearm.

May 5 – San Angelo, TX
Two 15-year-old teens were playing with a handgun when it discharged, shooting one in the head. The 15-year-old shooter was charged with aggravated assault with deadly weapon.  The adult gun owner, a resident in the home, was not charged.

May 4 – Smyrna, NY
Two teens were pointing rifles at each other and one unintentionally fired, shooting the 17-year-old in the shoulder. Both teens from Smyrna face charges of reckless endangerment in the accidental shooting.

May 2 – Green Bay, WI
A 17-year-old was playing with a gun in the backseat of a car and unintentionally shot a 23-year-old women in the back who was sitting in the car’s front seat. The 17-year-old was was arrested and charged with first degree reckless injury and possession of dangerous weapon by a person under 18.

States rejecting bills intended to keep guns away from kids

Published by USAToday/AP and numerous local media markets – May 25, 2017

Children under age 12 die from gun accidents in the United States about once a week, on average. Almost every death begins with the same basic circumstances: an unsecured and loaded gun, a guardian’s lapse in attention. 

CFSA Co-Director/Founder Beth Joslin Roth is featured below for her work in Tennessee on MaKayla’s Law.


In state after state, proposals that would create or toughen laws intended to keep kids from getting ahold of unsecured guns have stalled — caught up in a debate over whether they are effective prevention measures or just government overreach.

Child access prevention laws allow prosecutors to bring charges against adults who fail to safely store their loaded guns, especially when they are obtained by minors and used to harm.

Public health experts say the laws could significantly reduce unintentional shootings that kill and injure hundreds of children every year, particularly if they allow for felonies against violators and are paired with educational campaigns to raise awareness.

But legislative efforts in dozens of states have run into opposition from lawmakers aligned with the National Rifle Association. Critics say the laws trample on the rights of gun owners who should be able to store their firearms however they want, and unfairly single out guns. Swimming pools and prescription drugs also can cause accidental deaths of children, they say.

Even in states that have such laws, they are rarely used when unsecured guns contribute to the death of a child. An AP-USA TODAY Network analysis found the laws were invoked in 14 out of 152 deaths of children under age 12 over the last three years. Five of those came in Texas, where the offense is a misdemeanor, although grand juries later declined to issue indictments in two of them.

In Tennessee, MaKayla’s law — named for an 8-year-old killed by a neighbor who got hold of his father’s gun — would have made it a felony for gun owners to store weapons in a way that allowed children access to them.

 Sponsors were outraged that the 11-year-old who shot MaKayla Dyer will be jailed until he is an adult while his father remains free. The boy was convicted of murder for killing the girl after she refused to let him play with her puppy.

They argued that the state’s high rate of shootings involving children needed to be addressed. Gun-rights activists claimed the measure would allow government to tell law-abiding adults how to store their guns, and a Republican-controlled committee voted 7-2 against it.

Sponsors addressed that criticism and returned this year with a simpler version allowing adults to be charged with reckless endangerment if children obtain their guns and use them to kill or injure. But in March, the proposed MaKayla’s law met a similar fate. It was rejected 6-3 in committee.

This time, lawmakers argued the bill wasn’t necessary because prosecutors could bring charges under existing laws, such as reckless homicide.

“They beat us again,” said Beth Joslin Roth, director of the Safe Tennessee Project, which backed the measure. “But we’ll keep fighting for it. These shootings keep happening.”

Tennessee has one of the highest rates of accidental shootings involving minors of any state, according to a separate AP-USA TODAY Network investigation last year. During a 2½-year period starting in January 2014, 17 minors in the state under age 18 were killed in accidental shootings and 35 were injured.

From 2012 through 2016, efforts to create laws in 11 states that don’t have them — and to strengthen laws in 20 others that do — have failed. Not one became law. Few of the plans received public hearings, and those that did were often vocally opposed by gun-rights activists.

So far, 27 states and the District of Columbia have adopted some form of a child access prevention law, although their provisions vary widely. Most carry only misdemeanor penalties, and some are written very narrowly so that they may not apply even when children die. Others are intended to keep guns away from kids who might commit a crime.

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