Six chil­dren killed in state this year in gun ac­ci­dents

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL - GINNY MONK

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.

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