A new Washington Post Wonk Blog analysis states that every week this year a toddler has shot someone. The piece begins:
This week a 2-year-old in South Carolina found a gun in the back seat of the car he was riding in and accidentally shot his grandmother, who was sitting in the passenger seat. This type of thing happens from time to time: A little kid finds a gun, fires it, and hurts or kills himself or someone else. These cases rarely bubble up to the national level except when someone, like a parent, ends up dead.
But cases like this happen a lot more frequently than you might think. After spending a few hours sifting through news reports, I’ve found at least 43 instances this year of somebody being shot by a toddler 3 or younger. In 31 of those 43 cases, a toddler found a gun and shot himself or herself.
This scary graphic accompanied the piece:
These are harrowing statistics.
Before seeing this article, I watched a humorous episode of the ABC show Black’ish where this came up as well. In fact, the entire episode centered on the dad in the show, Andre’s (Anthony Anderson) obsession with getting a gun to protect his family and home.
In the beginning of the episode, a friend of one of the teens on the show was going to stay over for the weekend until the teen’s mom, Janine (Nicole Sullivan) asked if the home had a gun and after Andre lied and said ‘yes”, the mom grabbed her child and made up an excuse to not let him stay.
SEE THE EPISODE HERE!
This morning, one of my friends shared another piece from the Post from earlier this year, “The Question I Asked Before Any Playdate“, and it too speaks about hesitance of one mom to let her child play in the home of a gun owner who may not have all the precautions to prevent accidental shootings.
Experts say that 1 in 3 families with children have at least one gun in the house, but somehow, I never thought those statistics would include the parents at my child’s progressive pre-school. Though it is known that nearly 1,500 children will die from shootings each year, no one knows how many of those are children dying in their homes, or in the homes of friends, playing with a firearm. No records are kept on that by any government bureau; the numbers are just mixed in with gang killings, suicides, and school shootings.
But you’ve read the stories – a 6-year-old boy picks up a gun and shoots his 4-year-old sister, two kids are playing in a bedroom and one accidentally kills the other, the toddler who finds the hidden holster in his mother’s purse and shoots her in the head. Authorities say that parents don’t believe that their children know where their guns are hidden, but a recent study says that eight in 10 first graders know where their parents hide their guns. Parents don’t believe their children are capable of firing a weapon, but firing mechanisms are such that children as young as 3 are strong enough to pull the triggers of most guns.
Isn’t those last few lines the truth?
Given the ongoing incidents with gun deaths involving children, I do not think it is an unreasonable thing to ask of the parents, especially if the children will be alone and possibly unsupervised in the home for a long period of time.
Irrespective on what side of the political aisle one falls regarding gun rights and/or gun control, it’s pretty safe to say that all can agree “Responsible Gun Ownership” is mandatory for all.
There is no denying that so, moms and dads and caregivers, do ask this critical question (and appropriate follow-up questions) the next time your child will be spending any significant time in another person’s home.