Toddlers shot 23 people in the U.S. so far this year
Firearms expert talks gun safety and children
In the first four months of this year, at least 23 toddlers shot someone in this country.
The Washington Post reports that since April 20, 2016, there have been at least seven instances of a 1-, 2- or 3-year old shooting themselves or someone in the United States. The story states a 30-percent increase from this time a year ago.
Since 2010 at Cook Children's, 95 kids have been treated after getting shot, according to Cook Children's Trauma registry. The last six shootings have been accidental.
Walter Thomas, Cook Children’s Security Services Manager and an NRA Hand Gun/Home Firearms Safety instructor, says these findings mean more than just carelessness.
“This is neglect on the part of the parents or adult guardian,” Thomas said. “That’s the law and adults can face serious charges for allowing an underage person access to a weapon.”
The main message Thomas wants to get across to parents is to lock the guns away from kids.
For those who feel the need to have a loaded handgun in the house, he said adults should have a locked device– either a biometric safe or a standard lock and key safe. Another option for someone who doesn’t own a safe is to have the ammunition and the weapon in two different locations. “Keep it where you can locate it, but the children cannot,” Thomas said.
For older children, Thomas teaches gun safety to kids and the importance of respecting a gun.
“I taught my kids and I’ve spoken to school groups about gun safety, including our own Safety Basics program,” Thomas said. “We’ve taught kids what to do if they encounter a gun. Stop. Don’t touch and go tell and adult immediately to avoid accidental discharges.”