Accidental Shooting, Gun Safety

By: Stacy Eckes
By: Stacy Eckes

A 17-year-old boy from Portage County is recovering in the hospital from an accidental shooting this past weekend.

It happened Sunday in the town of Lanark. Investigators say a 14-year-old boy was showing the victim his grandpa's 22-caliber rifle that he thought was unloaded.

When the boys were walking back into the home, the weapon fired, striking the 17-year-old in the back. He was airlifted to Neenah.

His sister says he had emergency surgery and is still in a lot of pain, but, she says he is walking and will have a full recovery.

In light of this tragedy, experts say everyone should take proper steps to make sure accidents with guns don't happen in your home.

  • First, the guns should be locked up in a secure area.

  • Each weapon needs a trigger lock.

  • Keep the ammunition locked up in a separate area than the weapons.

  • Keep the chamber open, making it easy to check for bullets.

  • Always treat and handle your gun like it is loaded.

  • Finally, make sure an adult is present if a weapon is unlocked.

Law enforcement also suggests that once your child is mature enough, he or she should attend a gun or hunting safety course. Extended Web Coverage

Handgun Safety Locks: Protecting Our Children

  • Every day, guns hurt or kill American children. The statistics paint a terrifying picture: guns cause 12 percent of fatalities among American children and teens, and 1 of every 4 deaths of teenagers ages 15 to 19.

  • While many firearms deaths result from violent crime, gun accidents regularly claim the lives of America's youth. Firearms are the fourth leading cause of accidental deaths among children ages 5 to 14. Moreover, firearms have become the primary method by which young people commit suicide.

  • And the trend is getting worse. For children between 10 and 14 years-old, the firearm death rate increased by 18 percent from 1985 to 1990. For teens between 15 and 19, the firearm death rate increased by 77 percent during the same period.

  • Many young people have to look no further than their own home to get access to a gun. Many parents who say they have a gun in their home admit that they do not lock their firearms away from their children.

  • More must be done to prevent the tragic and needless deaths of our children by firearms. The President's Strategy addresses this problem by requiring gun dealers to sell a locking device with every handgun. Properly used, safety locking devices can dramatically reduce the unauthorized use of handguns by a child at play or a teen who wants to commit a crime.

  • Safety locks are inexpensive devices designed to secure a gun from unintended use. A 1991 General Accounting Office study found that one-third of the deaths resulting from accidental shootings could be prevented by a firearms safety device such as a trigger lock.

  • Last year, in the District of Columbia, a police officer's 3-year-old daughter climbed on top of a piece of furniture, pulled down her father's pistol and accidentally shot herself to death. The manufacturer of the handgun, Glock, donated 4,000 safety locks to the D.C. Police Department in response to the accident to prevent a similar occurrence from happening again.

  • Learning how to use a locking device should just take a few minutes. With training, many locking devices can be detached within seconds, allowing the authorized user quick access to their handgun in necessary situations. Locking devices have the added benefit of potentially preventing a gun from being used against its owner.

  • American families have a responsibility to keep their handguns out of the hands of children. A child safety lock on a handgun will help families to keep their kids from using the gun to hurt other kids or themselves.

    Source: (U.S. Department of Justice).

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