National Index Shows At Least 31 Deaths, 101 Unintentional Shootings Involving Children This Year, One Every 36 Hours; Everytown and Moms Launch “Be SMART” Campaign to Reduce Child Shootings; BeSMARTforkids.org
RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statement in response to Monday’s reported unintentional shooting in Lunenburg in which a 2-year-old boy shot himself in the head with a gun he found at a family friend’s home. The boy died two days after the unintentional shooting.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of this young boy who was killed earlier this week. Sadly, these tragedies happen all too often. Recent research from Everytown for Gun Safety reveals there have been at least 101 unintentional child shootings in 2015 so far—an average of one in America every 36 hours,” said Gena Reeder, the volunteer chapter leader for the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We encourage parents and adults—gun owners and non-gun owners alike—to ‘Be SMART’ and take these simple 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.”
Everytown and Moms Demand Action recently 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 Virginia has suffered at least two unintentional shootings involving children, resulting in one death and one injury in 2015—including shootings in Lunenburg and Chesterfield.
The Virginia shootings on the #NotAnAccident Index are:
- January 12, 2015, Chesterfield, VA
A five-year-old boy was playing at a friend’s home when he found a firearm and it discharged, injuring his five-year-old playmate. Several adults were in the home at the time. The gun belonged to William C. Griffin, 28, who owned the home but was not the father of either of the boys. Griffin was arrested and charged with felony abuse and neglect of children.
- May 25, 2015, Lunenburg, VA
A two-year-old boy found a handgun in a dresser while his family was visiting a friend’s home for Memorial Day, and unintentionally shot himself with it. He was hospitalized and two days after the shooting, he died of his injuries. As of today, police were investigating and had not filed charges.
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.
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.