In an article published this past weekend, the New York Times Editorial Board cited disturbing new statistics that reveal a high prevalence of accidental, gun-caused child deaths in the United States. According to a recent study conducted by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun research group Everytown for Gun Safety, over 100 children are shot to death each year because a firearm is unintentionally discharged. A significant majority of those shootings (84 percent) occur either in the child’s home or in a family car.
The primary cause for such shootings are loaded and unsecured guns that are legally purchased by adults, but accessible to young children in homes. “An estimated one-third of American children live in homes with firearms,” the editorial explains. “And 43 percent of these homes have at least one unlocked firearm lying about as an invitation to accidental mayhem.” These home-owned guns do not just cause accidental deaths; in 20 recent school shootings, three-quarters of the assailants brought their guns from home, according to a survey published by Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
The NYT article calls for more stringent gun laws that would strongly penalize adults who fail to adequately secure guns in their homes. In addition, gun safety advocates have argued for safety measures such as trigger locks, but so far they have been met only with legislative gridlock and lobby-driven opposition.