A three-year old is dead in Clarksville, Tennessee after finding a gun and shooting himself in the mouth. The toddler and his family were visiting from Kansas.
The homeowner(s) apparently considered themselves to be “responsible gun owners,” judging from the signage posted just outside their front door:
Apparently that protection extended only to the homeowner and not to the visiting little boy who was not in danger from anything until he found an unsecured .40-caliber handgun and shot himself in the face with it. There were no criminals breaking into the house; ISIS was not attacking; there are no reports of bears in the neighborhood.
Making matters worse, Tennessee is a state that imposes no criminal liability for “negligent storage of a firearm,” meaning that no criminal charges are likely to be filed in this incident.
According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence:
The presence of unlocked guns in the home increases the risk of both unintentional gun injuries and intentional shootings. A 1999 study found that more than 75% of the guns used in youth suicide attempts and unintentional injuries were stored in the residence of the victim, a relative,or a friend.
As of May 1st, toddlers had been responsible for more gun deaths in the U.S. than Muslim terrorists—by a margin of 23 to zero. (If one defines the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando as terrorism, perhaps it can be argued that this statistic has changed, but the fact remains that an extraordinary number of children are shooting themselves and others with handguns they should never have had access to. )
Even in 2015, a year that included the mass shootings by Islamic extremists in San Bernadino and Chatanooga, toddlers killed more Americans than Muslim terrorists.
Just consider this account from the New York Times:
During a single week in April, four toddlers…shot and killed themselves, and a mother driving through Milwaukee was killed after her 2-year-old apparently picked up a gun that had slid out from under the driver’s seat. It was a brutal stretch, even by the standards of researchers who track these shootings.
These are shooters who need help tying their shoelaces, too young sometimes to even say the word “gun,” killed by their own curiosity.
They accidentally fire a parent’s pistol while playing cops and robbers, while riding in a shopping cart, after finding it in the pocket of the coat their father forgot to wear to work. The gun that killed Sha’Quille last Thursday was pointing up, as if being inspected, when it fired.
Perhaps if the homeowner had invested more in safety than in the $7.25 he apparently spent on a snarky, macho yard sign this tragedy could have been avoided.
Here’s the local news report: