Six children killed in state this year in gun accidents
When Karma Wezowicz, 7, died in March, she became one of six victims of unintentional child shootings in Arkansas this year.
That ranks Arkansas second in the number of gun accidents involving minors, following only South Carolina, according to statistics from Moms Demand Action, a national advocacy group, and news reports.
Based on data gathered from news reports by the Child Fatality Notification list, Arkansas has seen at least 11 accidental shootings of children under the age of 12 since 2013.
Some gun safety advocates argue that tougher laws are needed to hold adults responsible when unsecured firearms injure children. Twenty-seven states and Washington, D.C., have such laws, which put criminal blame on adults who leave firearms accessible to children.
Arkansas does not have a law of this kind. Gun rights proponents say such laws impinge on the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. They also argue that other laws dealing with gun violence are adequate.
About one out of three American homes with children have guns, and about 1.7 million children live in homes where guns are left unlocked and loaded, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute.
An article in the July issue of the journal Pediatrics says an average of 1,300 children a year died of gunshots between 2002 and 2014, either from unintentional injury or homicide. The study used death certificate data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for its analysis.