Gun safety advocates say most accidental shootings involving children have two things in common: the firearm is loaded and it is not in a secure place.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study last week that showed the number of unintentional gun deaths reached a 20-year high in 2021, the last year for available statistics.
The gun safety group “Everytown” has a database showing Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast have experienced nine accidental shootings that injured or killed children in the past five years.
An 8-year-old girl in West Palm Beach, who was shot in a vehicle Tuesday, became the latest child victimized by an accidental shooting.
Colleen Creighton of the firearm safety group “Brady” said bedrooms, closets and cars are where kids get their hands on guns.
“Individuals are keeping their gun in their car but not actually keeping their car locked,” Creighton said.
Creighton said that even though that 8-year-old girl is expected to survive, the case remains a tragedy.
“What kind of trauma [does] she [have]?” asked Creighton. “What kind of trauma does her sibling have from finding the gun and having it go off?”
“Imagine how that childs life has been forever changed by that,” Florida state Rep. Christine Hunschofsky, D-Parkland, said.
She is sponsoring a bill that would mandate gun owners with children living in their homes lock their firearms when they’re not carrying them.
“It is all about making sure that gun owners are storing their firearms in order to prevent unnecessary shootings,” Hunschofsky said.
Her proposal never made it to the Florida House floor last year, but this time she hopes it will get a better hearing.
In the absence of a law, these are the steps the Brady group asks gun owners with children to take to reduce the chances of an accidental shooting.