The United States is home to a peculiar phenomenon of young children and adults being shot accidentally by guns that are not safely stored or properly supervised. According to a new report, as many as 70% of accidental shootings involving children by friends, family and neighbors are entirely preventable.
The statistics were released as part of a report by Everytown for Gun Safety, which has some very grim statistics for children and parents.
According to the report:
• Between 2007 and 2011, an average of 62 children per year below the age of 14 were accidentally shot or killed.
• Between December 2012 and December 2013, at least 100 children died in unintentional shootings like this. That works out to approximately 2 shootings per week.
• About two-thirds of the shootings were unintentional or unintended, accounting for approximately 65% of the fatalities. According to the data, the shootings took place in the home, or a car that belonged to the victim's family.
• In most of the cases, the guns involved in the shootings were owned legally by the owners, but were not safely secured.
• In more than two- thirds of the cases, the shootings could have been avoided if the guns had been stored properly, and kept inaccessible to children.
As many as 84% of Americans and 81% of gun owners favor laws that would result in gun owners being charged with crimes when a child gains access to an irresponsibly stored weapon, and injures or kills himself or someone else. In spite of that fact, there are no such laws in place.
Gun ownership is a right under the U.S. Constitution. But we must do a better job of protecting our citizens from unsafe gun practices, or the selling of weapons to those who are unable to comply with proper safety measures. It may also be worth considering whether a mandate should be implemented that would require gun owners to purchase a personal liability insurance policy, which would help cover the costs of treatment for those accidently shot and injured.