Houston, TX – 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 Texas suffered at least seven unintentional shootings involving children, resulting in three injuries and four deaths in 2015—including shootings in Garland, Houston, and San Antonio.
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 a gun owner, I am shocked by how many unintentional child shootings there are here in Texas,” said Angela Turner, volunteer with the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action from San Antonio. “As parents, our job is to do everything in our power to keep our children safe, but 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. These are not accidents, they are preventable tragedies.”
The Texas shootings on the #NotAnAccident Index are:
A 12-year-old boy was playing with a gun he believed to be unloaded inside his home when he pulled the trigger, hitting and killing his friend, 13-year-old Matthew Cisneros. The boy was arrested and charged with manslaughter.
• February 27, 2015 Houston, TX
A three-year-old boy unintentionally shot himself inside his home after finding his parents’ gun. The parents had a concealed carry permit, but left the gun unsecured. The boy was airlifted to an area hospital, where he died the next day.
Four-year-old Codrick McCall, Jr., shot and killed himself with a handgun he found in the home of his temporary guardian. Child Protective Services had been investigating the boy’s parents and had placed him in the guardian’s custody. He found the handgun in the room he was sleeping in, shot himself, and died at the scene.
A five-year-old boy shot and injured his six-year-old brother while they were playing “cops and robbers” in the front room of their home. The boy found a loaded handgun and fired it at his brother during the game. The victim was treated at a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries.
A six-year-old boy unintentionally shot and wounded his five-year-old brother in the arm. The brothers found the loaded, unsecured handgun while playing hide-and-seek in the apartment of a friend of the family. The victim was treated at a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries.
Seventeen-year-old Jesse Davis unintentionally shot and killed his 16-year-old friend Ezra Jackson from the back seat of the car Jackson was driving. Davis told police that as he and a group of teenagers drove up to a gas station, he was handling a handgun in the backseat, and it discharged, hitting Jackson in the back. Jackson exited the car and fell to the ground, where he was pronounced dead by emergency responders. Davis was arrested at the scene.
• May 9, 2015 San Antonio, TX
A three-year-old boy unintentionally shot and critically injured himself with a handgun. A relative of the boy drove him to a hospital, where he was admitted in critical condition. As of May 29, 2015, authorities were still investigating the circumstances and had not provided information about whether the boy resided in the apartment where it happened.
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 Texans talking about basic gun safety and preventing further tragedy,” said Sandy Chasse, volunteer with the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action from Houston. “This campaign is not anti-gun, it’s pro-gun safety. As a gun owning family, I know 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.