Toddlers Have Already Shot 23 People This Year and It’s Only May
According to a report via the Washington Post, American children aged three and under have shot at least 23 people in 2016 which is a five person increase since last year. In an analysis from October 2015 conducted by reporter Christopher Ingraham, the nation’s toddlers were shooting people at an average rate of one per week. These numbers are most likely on the low side, too. While sometimes it certainly feels like every week brings another story of a child stumbling upon a gun and shooting another person, consider the fact that the stories that get the press are the ones in which the victims suffer grievous harm. That means that toddlers have shot 23 people this year…that we know about.
The rest of the cases didn’t get media attention probably only because no one was seriously injured or killed. Everytown For Gun Safety, a pro-gun control group, has discovered at least 77 incidents in 2016 alone where a child 18 years old or under accidentally shot someone. So, where are these incidents taking place? Where in this great nation of ours do children have such easy access to guns? According to the Post,
Georgia is home to the highest number of toddler shootings, with at least eight incidents since January 2015. Texas and Missouri are tied for second place with seven shootings each, while Florida and Michigan are tied for fourth, with six shootings apiece.
Please refrain from making assumptions about the kinds of people that are “letting” this happen and the states where these incidents occur. Toddlers shooting people with guns that they should not have access to isn’t just a result of bad parenting or gun-crazy Southerners whistling Dixie while placing a loaded revolver in the hand of their 3-year old and hoping for the best. Gun control laws vary by state; Georgia and Missouri happen to be pretty lax. Guns do exist in other states like New York, California and other places in this great nation where a gun culture doesn’t really, but the laws are different. This fact combined with the social acceptability of guns and gun culture adds up to an environment where children would indeed have access to guns and therefore would be able to shoot them accidentally.
So, how do we fix this? Gun control laws are one step; checking in with gun owners about the ways they store their guns is another. Treating guns with the seriousness they deserve would be a third. If you have a gun at home, great. I’m not going to take it away from you. But try and keep it away from your kid.