Every Year, Nearly 350 Children Under the Age of 18 Unintentionally Shoot Themselves or Someone Else, According to Everytown’s #NotAnAccident Index
NEW YORK — Today, Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund released a new report detailing how secure gun storage practices can reduce gun violence, including gun suicides and unintentional shootings by children. The report covers:
- The deadly toll of unsecured guns
- Steps that gun owners can take to protect their children and other loved ones from gun violence
- The importance of laws that require gun owners to store their firearms securely
- Innovative community approaches to encouraging secure gun storage
“When firearms are left unsecured, the consequences can be deadly,” said Sarah Burd-Sharps, Research Director for Everytown for Gun Safety. “Fortunately, there are straightforward steps that can minimize these risks. From homes to gun stores to statehouses, there is important work happening to protect American kids and communities through secure gun storage. These efforts are saving lives and should be amplified, replicated and expanded.”
“For so many of us, this is personal,” said Julvonnia McDowell, whose 14-year-old son, JaJuan, was unintentionally shot and killed by another teen playing with a gun while visiting family on spring break. “Gun owners have a responsibility to secure their guns, and the stakes are higher than I could possibly put into words.”
Research cited in the report has found:
- An estimated 4.6 million American children live in households with at least one unlocked and loaded firearm.
- If half of households with children that contain at least one unlocked gun switched to locking all their guns, one-third of youth gun suicides and unintentional deaths could be prevented, saving an estimated 251 lives in a single year.
- Households that locked both firearms and ammunition were associated with a 78 percent lower risk of self-inflicted firearm injuries, and an 85 percent lower risk of unintentional firearm injuries among children, compared to those that locked neither.
According to the #NotAnAccident Index, which tracks unintentional shootings by children since 2015, nearly 350 American children under the age of 18 gain access to a firearm and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else each year.
Across the country, volunteers with Moms Demand Action advocate for the Be SMART program to train community members on the simple steps we can all take to keep our families safe by keeping guns securely stored. The program asks parents and caretakers, gun owners and non-gun owners alike, to ‘Be SMART’ and take these simple steps:
- Secure all guns in homes and vehicles
- Model responsible behavior
- Ask about firearms in other homes your child visits
- Recognize the role of guns in suicide
- Tell your peers to Be SMART