Stories of unlocked and loaded guns falling into the hands of children tend to end in death. They’re such frequent occurrences that society now treats them as routine. But they are not “accidental.”
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 62 children, age 14 and under, died each year in unintentional shootings between 2007 and 2011. ‘Innocents Lost,’ a 2014 report by Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, found about one-third of American children live in homes with firearms; 13 percent of those homes have at least one gun that is loaded and unsecured or stored with ammunition,” writes The Boston Globe‘s Renee Graham.
At twelve years old, Ms. Graham recalls, she found her father’s gun. She didn’t end up killing anyone with it, but she was lucky:
“It’s stunning to consider how easily I could have killed someone, shattering their loved ones, and leaving my own family in ruins. The simple fact is that an unsecured gun in a household with children is an invitation to tragedy. More than 25 states and the District of Columbia have laws that hold gun owners criminally liable if minors gain access to their guns. Yet in a nation where simple logic is no match for stubborn ideology when it comes to firearms, the laws vary, penalties are generally low, and too many states having nothing on the books at all.”