High Gun Sales And More Time At Home Have Led To More Accidental Shootings By Kids

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Thousands of empty empty pairs of shoes for every child killed by guns in the U.S. since Sandy Hook cover the southeast lawn of U.S. Capitol on March 13, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

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1st-Time Gun Buyers Help Push Record U.S. Gun Sales Amid String Of Mass Shootings

At that pace the organization projects these incidents in 2021 are set to surpass even the record reached in 2017. That year 383 cases of accidental shootings by kids occurred and at least 156 people were killed.

The organization says COVID-19 lockdowns, lack of child care, record gun sales in the U.S. during the pandemic, and a reported surge in first-time gun owners may be to blame.

Accidental shootings by kids happen almost daily

Everytown has been tracking unintentional shootings by kids for six years. Cases of young children taking hold of a gun and mistakenly shooting themselves, a friend, or a family member happen almost every single day.

There were at least 2,070 unintentional shootings by children, resulting in 765 deaths from 2015 to 2020, according to the group’s research.

Forty-four percent of U.S. adults say they live in a household with a gun, including about a third who say they personally own one, according to a Gallup survey conducted in October 2020.

The data shows a devastating trend

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Handguns are displayed on a vendor’s table at a gun show in Albany, N.Y., on Jan. 26, 2013.

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Handguns are displayed on a vendor’s table at a gun show in Albany, N.Y., on Jan. 26, 2013.

Philip Kamrass/AP

Everytown’s new report sheds light on commonalities of each of the reported cases of children playing with a gun, or grabbing the weapon, and shooting themselves or others.

  • 91% of the victims in unintentional shootings by children were also under 18.
  • More than one in every four of these shootings are by kids age 5 and younger. One in every four of the victims are also 5 and younger.
  • Boys make up a majority of the shooters and the victims. About 83% of the child shooters are young boys. Boys and men make up 76% of the victims.
  • The most likely age group to be both shooters and victims are teenagers ages 14 to 17, followed by preschool aged children.

These are steps parents can take to protect their children

Everytown says an estimated 5.4 million children are living in households in the U.S. with a least one loaded and unlocked gun. Most of these shootings take place in homes of the shooter, the victim, a relative or a friend.

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises the safest home for a child is one without guns.

For parents with firearms, medical professionals say the best way to keep kids safe around firearms is to keep the guns locked in a safe or lockbox and to ensure children have no access to the keys.

  • Everytown For Gun Safety
  • gun safety
  • children
  • Guns
  • kids

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