A popular NRA-supporter bumper sticker reads: "Guns don't kill people. People kill people." In this case, the "person" who did the "killing" was a 9-year-old Los Angeles boy. The person who died? His 2-year-old brother.
Why did a kid have a gun? Police say he climbed into a closet and found the loaded handgun. He was playing with it when he accidentally shot the toddler in the chest.
According to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more preschoolers were killed by firearms than law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty.
In 2006, 3,184 children (and teens) died from gunfire in the U.S. This means one young life lost every 2 hours and 45 minutes, almost 9 every day, 61 every week.
The United States remains one of the few industrialized countries that place so few restrictions on gun sales. Americans own 200 million firearms, and 35 percent of homes contain at least one gun. Last year, a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found more than 1.7 million children live in homes with loaded and unlocked guns.
Nine children will die from gunfire today. Will yours be one of them?
The Children's Defense Fund offers these tips for protecting children from gun violence:
- Support common-sense gun safety measures, like closing the gun show loophole, strengthening the Brady background check, and reinstituting the assault weapons ban.
- Remove guns from your home.
- Refuse to buy or use products for children that glamorize violence.
Think your kids won't get to the gun in your house? Think again. A study in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine found about 3/4 of kids knew where their parents' guns were stored, and 36 percent said they had handled the weapons (contradicting parents who thought kids had no idea where the guns were and never touched them). What's more, 5-year-olds were just as likely as teens to play with household guns.
Let's be real: That 9-year-old didn't kill his brother. To quote another popular bumper sticker: "It's the guns, stupid!"
Image via auntjojo/Flickr