SAVANNAH, Ga. – Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America recently launched #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 Georgia suffered at least five unintentional shootings involving children, resulting in two injuries and three deaths in 2015—including shootings in Augusta, Baconton, Chatsworth, Jefferson and Macon.
Nationally the #NotAnAccident Index indicates that since January 1, 2015, there have been at least 88 unintentional shootings involving children, resulting in 65 injuries and 25 deaths—that’s an average of one unintentional child shooting in America every 36 hours. The index is based on media coverage and police reports of instances where a child 17 years or younger unintentionally fired a gun and harmed either him or herself or another person.
“As a parent, I was shocked to see how many unintentional child shootings there are here in Georgia,” said Lindsey Free-Donovan, the volunteer chapter leader for the Georgia chapter of Moms Demand Action. “I do everything in my power to keep my children safe, but the reality that more than two million American children live in homes with unsecured guns and that once every 36 hours, a child unintentionally fires a gun and harms someone. That is unacceptable—as adults, we need to be responsible for gun safety. These are not accidents, they are preventable tragedies.”
The Georgia shootings on the #NotAnAccident Index are:
• January 18, 2015, Baconton, GA
Following a day of hunting, the adults in the hunting party told Jackson O’Quinn, 13, to put away the guns used in the hunt. He was in the process of doing so when he unintentionally discharged one of the guns, hitting and killing himself.
• March 10, 2015, Macon, GA
After finding a gun in his home, an eight-year-old boy unintentionally shot and injured his five-year-old brother.
• March 19, 2015, Chatsworth, GA
A two-year-old girl unintentionally shot and injured herself in the abdomen with a .25-caliber gun. Her father called the police, who recovered a gun at the scene. She was treated at a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries.
• March 29, 2015, Jefferson, GA
Three-year-old Jaxon Kullen White unintentionally shot and killed himself with a handgun. Police were called to the scene and transported White to a local hospital, where he died.
• April 29, 2015, Augusta, GA
A fifteen-year-old boy was playing with a gun when he unintentionally discharged it, hitting his brother, Rasheem Scriven, 1, in the head, killing him. The older child was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless conduct, and possession of a handgun by a person under 18.
In efforts to reduce the number of shootings by children, Everytown and Moms Demand Action recently launched the Be SMART campaign, a new 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 or 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 home 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.
“The Be SMART campaign is a great way to get Georgians talking about basic gun safety and preventing further tragedy,” continued Lindsey Free-Donovan. “This campaign is not anti-gun, it’s pro-gun safety. The goal here is not to scare people or take away anyone’s rights, but rather to demonstrate that we have the power to help prevent these tragedies before they happen, and it starts with the Be SMART campaign.”
As part of the Be SMART campaign to promote gun safety in communities nationwide, Everytown and Moms Demand Action will provide one gunlock for every supporter who completes the online gun safety quiz on BeSMARTforKids.org to Moms Demand Action chapters to distribute at local gun safety awareness events.