Columbus, OH – Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America’s 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 shows Ohio suffered at least 4 unintentional shootings involving children, resulting in 1 injury and 3 deaths in 2015—including shootings in Cleveland, Columbus, Dalton, and Neffs.
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 and grandparent, I was shocked to see there have been four unintentional child shootings here in Ohio,” said Michele Mueller, volunteer chapter leader with the Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action. “These are not accidents, they are preventable tragedies. The reality is 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.”
The Ohio shootings on the #NotAnAccident Index are:
• February 9, 2015, Dalton, OH
An 11-year-old boy and his eight-year-old brother, Stephan J. Miller, were playing in their basement with a 12-gauge shotgun that had been left unlocked and loaded, when the older boy unintentionally fired it, killing Stephan.
• March 2, 2015, Columbus, OH
Seventeen-year-old Darius Pike told police that he unintentionally shot and wounded his 14-year-old friend while playing with a handgun at a playground. Pike was arrested and charged with reckless conduct and possession of a handgun by a person under 18.
• April 12, 2015, Cleveland, OH
A three-year-old boy found a loaded handgun and unintentionally shot and killed one-year-old Braylon Robinson. Police are not sure to whom the gun belonged, but said there was one adult in the house at the time of the shooting, along with several children.
• April 14, 2015, Neffs, OH
A 16-year-old boy unintentionally shot and killed himself while cleaning a gun.
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 Ohioans talking about basic gun safety and preventing further tragedy,” continued Mueller. “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.