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More Child Deaths by Firearm: Where’s Our Gun Reform?

More Child Deaths by Firearm: Where’s Our Gun Reform?

As of July 2, at least 114 children had died by guns since the horrific Newtown massacre in December, according to a dataset compiled by Slate in cooperation with readers. In roughly the last week alone, four of those deaths involved children shooting themselves or each other.

In Kentucky, a six-year-old girl died after her brother accidentally shot her. According to the available information about the case, her grandfather had taken out a pistol to clean it and set it down without confirming that it was unloaded. When her four-year-old brother picked it up to play with it — something children should be taught never to do — it discharged, killing his sister. Such an event would be traumatic for the family, but especially for the girl’s brother, who will be spending the rest of his life living with the memory of shooting his own sister in a tragic accident.

In Ohio, 12-year-old Austin Wiseman shot his nine-year-old brother, Blake Campbell. Evidence suggests Campbell died instantly from a shot to the head before Wiseman shot himself with the same gun, likely with a revolver found on the scene. Other weapons were found on site at the home where the boys had been left unattended by their grandparents. What’s not clear is why the shooting happened; there’s some speculation that Campbell’s shooting may have been an accident, and Wiseman could have shot himself out of remorse. More facts may emerge in the case, but what remains indisputable is that two boys are dead because of improperly secured firearms.

And in Louisiana, a five-year-old girl shot herself, most probably by accident, with a .38 revolver. She had been locked in a bedroom by her mother, alone, while her mother went to the store — her mother has since been booked on a charge of second degree murder. Her negligence in this case resulted in yet another unnecessary death of a child by firearm in a country where children are already dying due to domestic violence, crossfire in turbulent neighborhoods and accidental shootings by family members.

These cases come on top of some shootings by toddlers I documented earlier this year, demonstrating that this is an ongoing problem. How are so many guns getting into the hands of children, and how are things going so terribly wrong when they do?

Guns, like any tools, can be used responsibly or irresponsibly. Surely, there are many gun owners who handle their weapons with respect and caution, taking reasonable safety measures to keep them out of the hands of people who are untrained, young, or vulnerable. However, carelessness with a gun can easily lead to fatal consequences. Children are accessing guns because so many are poorly secured and improperly maintained; a loaded gun set down for even a moment can turn into a tragedy when a young child is around. Guns that aren’t secured in locked cabinets or aren’t equipped with trigger locks can become instruments of deadly accidents, and sometimes intentional shootings, depending on the situation.

In the months since the Newtown massacre, there were numerous outraged cries for gun reform, and some hasty legislation, much of which took on the role of fix-it bills that didn’t adequately address the issue. Guns need to be more tightly controlled in the United States to restrict access to those who can use them responsibly to prevent more needless deaths. The conversation about gun reform must stress that the ultimate goal is public safety, not storming into private homes to seize weapons from everyone. Extremist rhetoric erases the very real issue that people of all ages are dying in gun accidents in the U.S. simply because guns were unnecessarily available.

We can’t let up on the pressure for real, meaningful gun reform in the United States, because it can and will save lives.

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Photo credit: Oakley Originals.

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208 comments

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2:50AM PDT on Aug 1, 2013

Sad sad sad

11:35PM PDT on Jul 11, 2013

CONT........responsible...well how do you do that?For one,they need to be leaning towards wanting to be responsible and there needs to be a environment that leads one in this direction.....i think it all starts during childhood,and childhood depending on the direction it leads one,plays the greatest role on how a adult is made,so a whole lot more needs to be happening in this area if change is really what is wanted.

11:32PM PDT on Jul 11, 2013

@Cletus W.........I know what i've said,maybe you just didn't understand it,and clearly you cant neatly place people in one labelled box because of a few sentences they made,people are much more complex then that,and nobody is stupid and you can learn as much from a fool as you can a wise man.And just so you fully understand what i just said,within every direction there is many paths,to look at all the points of that path is needed to fully take in that persons direction and better understand that person.

So i can agree with a person on some points even if i dont fully agree with them,yes its possible.I dont know why its such a big leap for you that overall that many that dont own firearms,and many of those of either never shot one or shot one very few times have a lesser understanding of a firearm,many are plain scared of them.There is many ways to look at this,but fear brings resentment.People as well fear firearms because they see them as being only killing machines,but i have never taken a life with my firearm.In my view i see more none gun owners wanting to either remove guns all together or greatly increase laws.But there is much to learn from those voices,i cant say i totally disagree with half they say,but its the way they want to go about doing their business i dont like.Whats flawed is thinking you can make firearms more safe by adding more laws that half the time wont/cant be enforced much like the exsisting laws on the books.If you want people to be more respon

2:17PM PDT on Jul 11, 2013

Ken H. -- sorry, just don't see your so-called 'soap opera', or where I've 're-worded' anything. Your accusations were defensive and too general, lacked specifics....don't think I didn't notice that little trick.

I've quoted you your own words, and where I was uncertain, asked you questions....which you've essentially ignored. It is fine with me that you feel I've gone too far in bludgeoning the idot ROLF....good for you...protector of the too-stupid-to-know-it. It is YOU who said that "I dont agree with Rolf's post but he does have a point..." WHAT?!?? Logic dictates that IF you didn't agree with his post, then you must not have agreed with the point made within it.

But apparently you did like ROLF's nonsense about non-gun owners wanting more regulation. OK then ponder the equal nonsense: clearly from the posts here on Care2, it is the gun owners who want LESS regulation. DUH!!! Please enlighten me...just what core insight does that sophomoric drivel bring to the discussion?!

Oh, and by the way, don't think that I didn't notice that you did not address my point about your hypocritical statement about non-gun-owners making "more fear related" claims. You need only read one person's posts to gleen my point....those of your empty-headedbuddy's DelR.

To answer your question: no, I did not call ROLF stupid to make me look smart. I did it to highlite the rightwing stupidity that is afoot, especially in this thread.

1:57PM PDT on Jul 11, 2013

Del R. -- just love your hiding behind the veil of 'victim'. That's quite the 'high road' you've busily constructed for yourself. I've given you plenty of substance to comment on here and in the past, and you constantly choose to ignore all of it by hiding behind your veil...I can only suppose it is because you have little to defend your views with, except your emotional appeal to victimhood, even as you hypocritically claim others are too emotional. Please.....

Did you ever think that maybe YOU should read the founding documents?...maybe this time slower...with understanding? Especially the 2nd Amendment, where gun ownership was originally linked directly to "militia membership" and "regulations". Our right to privately own guns, as we do today, was only given to us by ACTIVIST judges, not DIRECTLY by the Bill of Rights.....very similar to abortion rights.

Looks to me like you didn't grow out of anything, other than your ability to sensibly understand your place in our socio-cultural-political history.

8:00AM PDT on Jul 11, 2013

Some posters on this issue feel strongly that making gun ownership illegal. Chicago experienced a thousand shootings since 1/1/2013. That equates to more than 5 a day. They have passed a new law requiring them to start issuing permits to the legal law abiding citizens because they now realize how bad their choice to make Chicago a gun free zone. Only the criminals and law enforcement have them and that isn't working so well. Gun free zones anywhere only work when all abide by that law.. Since when does the criminal element abide by our laws? We need to start addressing violence, and that issue is the root of many of societies deaths.

8:11AM PDT on Jul 10, 2013

Cletus.. When you stop attacking care 2 posters and contribute facts to the thread I will be glad to reply to your posts.. When you post based on emotional filled rhetoric and name calling I see no need to join you playing in your sand box. I grew out of that long ago.. Even the author admits she is an Agitator, don't go into your drivel. Till then BYE... Have you even read our countries FOUNDING & CREATING documents to understand our cultural differences?

1:40AM PDT on Jul 10, 2013

Probably in the hands of the NRA-only in the US!

11:21PM PDT on Jul 9, 2013

@ Del R...........It would be nice if only the real facts were used,that would still leave gun owners in a dark corner because firearms are dangerous and there are too many that dont know how to be responsible for little things in their life let alone owning something that could kill everybody on your block,but the playing field would be better if just the facts were present.

Problem is folks wait till others die and then decide to become emotional and then demand more laws to try and makeup for the deaths and future possible deaths.Again i think its human nature to tackle whats on your front porch rather then look whats been growing in your back yard......and without growing stronger family units kids will keep learning defective logic and will growup to be hurting adults who in one form or another teach that hurt/hate/selfishness that we pop into the next generation.If we want change we have to make real changes.....just my thoughts.

10:44PM PDT on Jul 9, 2013

CONT........ like,but dont think i dont take notice.

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