You’ve heard of the Terrible Twos. But did you know about the Deadly Threes?
According to an analysis by The Associated Press and the USA TODAY Network, “Deaths and injuries spike for children under age 5, with 3-year-olds the most common shooters and victims among young children. Nearly 90 3-year-olds were killed or injured in the shootings, the vast majority of which were self-inflicted.”
The investigation covered more than 1,000 incidents spanning two and a-half years ending last year. “In all, those shootings claimed the lives of more than 320 minors and more than 30 adults,” the report said.
The report does not delve into the causes of the accidental shootings other than the obvious: a child should not have had access to a readily-dischargeible firearm.
In Texas, the gun owner can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor if a child younger than 17 gains access to a readily dischargeable firearm. That’s a gun that is loaded and not secured in any way such as in a safe or by a trigger lock. If the child kills or injures somebody with the gun, the charge increases to a Class A misdemeanor.
Gun owners must balance their ease of access to the weapon with the proper security preventing unauthorized persons – not just children – from gaining control of the weapon. It’s a basic responsibility of gun ownership.
Excuses such as, “I didn’t know the gun was loaded” pale in the light of evidence showing the gun was in easy reach of a three-year-old.
Education programs like the NRA’s effective “Eddie Eagle” program teach kids what to do when they encounter firearms: “STOP! Don't Touch. Run Away. Tell a Grown-up.”
This valuable safety program helps augment the security efforts by responsible gun owners to prevent accidental shootings.
But what if the custodian of the gun really does not know if it is loaded. Or even that it is hidden in the closet or bedside drawer.
When the gun is no longer wanted, maintained or secured properly, the time has come to get rid of it.
If the custodian is comfortable handling the gun, it may be taken to a store for sale or given to friends or relatives who will accept the ownership responsibility.
But if the custodian is not comfortable in touching the gun or does not know anybody to take it, please contact Gatling Gun Rescue™ and we will either find it a new home or help the parts repair other guns. The service is free, confidential and complies with all state and federal laws.
- Dr. Gatling