On Monday, three days after Christmas, the four-year-old son of an Alaska state trooper had just returned home from sledding. He was playing by himself in the living room. His mom and grandmother were not far away, in the kitchen, the Alaska Dispatch News reports.
But somehow the boy, William Anderson, found a gun belonging to his father. The gun went off and killed William.
This type of thing happens more than it should. At least 265 children under the age of 18 picked up a firearm and accidentally shot themselves or someone else with it in 2015, according to numbers compiled by the gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.
That works out to about five accidental shootings by children each week this year. Of those, 83 ended in death: The underage shooters killed themselves 41 times and other people 42 times. It’s important to note that this tally only includes accidental shootings. It doesn’t include homicides by teens and suicides.
The shootings usually seem to happen when a kid finds an unsecured gun at home, like William did. 148 of the shootings happened at the victim’s house, 31 more happened at a friend’s house, and another 28 happened at the home of a family member.
The shooters tend to be toddlers or young kids firing guns completely on accident or teens playing with guns recklessly, as this chart from Everytown shows.
Everytown for Gun Safety
It’s unclear whether these numbers are going up or down, because this is the first time these figures have been tallied. “This is the first attempt at making an account at this scale and this degree, and we as an organization started doing it …read more