If there’s one thing the NRA loves to talk about — to deflect the attention away from gun deaths — is that “good guys” with guns can stop “bad guys” with guns. But what happens when the one wielding the gun is under 3 years old? Still think the gun isn’t the problem?
This week, a 2-year-old found a gun in the backseat of a car and accidentally shot his grandmother. A Chicago father was charged with child endangerment after his 6-year-old son shot and killed his 3-year-old little brother. Two toddlers from Louisiana became part of the total gun injuries this year.
The Washington Post points out that most times we don’t hear about these accidental shootings unless it kills someone, but it happens more often than you’d think. There have been 43 total accidental shootings by toddlers in 2015 alone: 13 accidentally shot and killed themselves, 18 injured themselves, 10 shot other people and 2 killed someone.
Once a week, on average, a child inadvertently finds a gun and shoots him or herself or someone else
Boys are disproportionately likely to do this,” the report reads. “I could find only three cases where a girl under the age of 4 wounded someone with a gun.
As you can see below, 24 states have had toddler related shootings with Missouri leading the pack with five total shootings. Next is Florida with four shootings, presumably because the toddlers were standing their ground. Looking at states like Texas, you wonder if it’s just a numbers game. They have many because they’re such a large state with a larger population. E
xcept, look at California. Zero. Why would such a populous state like California have zero when another large state would have three? Because their gun laws are stricter!
The major problem with this informal study is that it doesn’t reflect toddlers who are shot by parents or older children, nor does it include intentional shootings. Dozens of preschoolers get murdered each year according to the CDC. The statistics also don’t reflect a toddler shooting a gun that doesn’t hurt anyone. So, basically, these are lowball numbers. Seriously lowballed.
Clearly, the guns aren’t killing people here, right? I mean, that’s what the NRA would say. These toddlers just aren’t trained properly. It is unclear when the NRA will be putting out their own Baby Einstein that teaches gun safety. Or would the NRA consider that encroaching on the 2nd Amendment? Remember, the NRA opposes solutions like advanced safety technology or requiring guns to be locked up.
I guess the positive side, if there is one, is that parents who don’t take safety precautions and a kid gets hurt typically end up in jail. Just make sure you know if there are weapons in the house before you take your kids over to any playdates, especially in Missouri, Texas, Michigan, South Carolina and Florida.