When a mass shooting occurs, it is plastered across the front pages of newspapers everywhere. But there's an even scarier statistic that needs to be heard: in the past year, toddlers ages 3 and under have shot 43 people. Yes, you read that right. Children who don't know how to read, who most likely don't know how to use a key in a lock, and who can barely speak in full sentences have picked up a gun and shot someone. Even scarier, in 31 of those instances, the child picked up a gun and shot him or herself.
In a thorough review of the toddler-initiated gun deaths this year, The Washington Post uncovered the shocking fact that "roughly once a week this year, on average, a small child has found a gun, pointed it at himself or someone else, and pulled the trigger."
According to the statistics:
- Boys are more likely to find and shoot a gun than girls — only three cases involved girls.
- 30 percent of the self-inflicted injuries were fatal.
- Missouri has seen the highest number of incidents with five.
- Florida has had the second highest with four.
As the nation's gun control laws become a focus of the upcoming electoral debate, parents need to pay attention to these numbers. Everytown For Gun Safety reports that "more than two-thirds of these tragedies could be avoided if gun owners stored their guns responsibly and prevented children from accessing them." A sobering thought that wouldn't hinder Americans' right to own guns at all.