Little Rock, AR – The Arkansas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statement in response to the death of three children in Arkansas in the last week. A two-year-old shot and killed himself this week in Benton, a six-year-old was shot and killed in Little Rock on November 18th, and a 16-year-old was shot and killed in a hunting incident by his 12-year-old brother northwest of Lockesburg over the weekend.
“First and foremost our thoughts are with the surviving friends and families of these innocent victims. These incidents serve as yet another reminder of the devastating toll of gun violence from unintentional shootings, of which recent research from Everytown for Gun Safety reveals there have been at least 238 so far this year – an average of one every 32 hours in our country,” said Austin Bailey, volunteer Chapter Leader of Arkansas Moms Demand Action. “These deaths and injuries are not blameless accidents. They are preventable tragedies that afflict hundreds of families each year and is a problem – with a clear solution – that we’re seeing nationwide. We encourage parents, gun owners and non-gun owners alike to ‘Be SMART’ and follow these simple steps to prevent shootings by children: Secure all guns in your homes and vehicles; Model responsible behavior around guns; Ask about the presence of unsecured guns in other homes; Recognize the risks of teen suicide; Tell your peers to Be SMART.”
Earlier this year, Everytown and Moms Demand Action launched the #NotAnAccident Index and interactive map, a first-of-its-kind tracking of unintentional shootings by children 17 or under across the United States. The index reveals Arkansas has seen four unintentional child shootings this year, with all of them resulting in deaths.
Nationally the #NotAnAccident index indicates that since January 1, 2015, there have been at least 238 child shootings this year, resulting in in 76 deaths and 166 injuries. The last week was tied for the worst week of the year for unintentional child shootings with ten total shootings, and was also the deadliest seven-day period of this year so far, with six deaths.
In an effort to reduce the number of child shootings by children, Everytown and Moms Demand Action launched Be SMART, a public education campaign asking gun owners and non-gun owners alike to come together to reduce the number of unintentional shootings, suicides, and homicides that occur when firearms are not stored responsibly and children and teens get ahold of a gun. The campaign asks parents and caretakers to take five steps to help prevent shootings by children: Secure all guns in your homes and vehicles; Model responsible behavior around guns; Ask about the presence of unsecured guns in other homes; Recognize the risks of teen suicide; Tell your peers to Be SMART. More information on Be SMART is available at BeSMARTforKids.org