WASHINGTON — In a country with forty million more guns than people and lax gun laws, small children are too easily getting their hands on loaded firearms.
The Washington Post reports that in the last 10 months, American toddlers have been shooting guns and injuring themselves or others at least once a week on average. There have been 43 shootings by toddlers below the age of 4 in 2015 alone.
Thirty-one toddlers aged 3 and younger inadvertently shot themselves with a gun, with 13 dying as a result, while two shot and killed other people. Statistics also show that the likelihood of boys doing this is much higher than girls.
The New York Daily News reports that in June, 3-year-old Michigan boy Jonathan Kaufman died at home after shooting himself in the head with a pistol he found in a closet, while his father and older brother were just outside. This August in Missouri, a 21-month-old boy fatally shot himself in the torso at his grandmother's house, according to KSDK. Meanwhile, NBC reports that in April in Ohio, 1-year-old Braylon Robinson was killed at home after being shot in the head by a 3-year-old cousin.
Toddler shootings have happened in 24 states in the U.S. Missouri has the most with five, followed by Florida with four and Texas with three.
In total, there have been 15 deaths in 10 months carried out by small children handling firearms.