National Index Shows At Least 31 Deaths, 101 Unintentional Shootings Involving Children This Year, One Every 36 Hours; Everytown and Moms Launch “Be SMART” Campaign to Reduce Child Shootings; BeSMARTforkids.org
NEW YORK, N.Y. – The New York chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statement in response to Monday’s reported unintentional shooting in Yonkers in which a 4-year-old girl shot and injured herself after finding a semi-automatic handgun in her family’s apartment.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of this young child who was injured earlier this week in her home. Sadly, these tragedies happen all too often. Recent research from Everytown for Gun Safety reveals there have been at least 101 unintentional child shootings in 2015 so far—an average of one in America every 36 hours,” said Janina Bandi, the volunteer chapter leader for the New York chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We encourage parents and adults—gun owners and non-gun owners alike—to ‘Be SMART’ and take these simple steps to help prevent shootings by children: Secure all guns in your homes and vehicles; Model responsible behavior around guns; Ask about the presence of unsecured guns in other homes; Recognize the risks of teen suicide; Tell your peers to Be SMART.”
Everytown and Moms Demand Action recently launched the #NotAnAccident Index and interactive map, a first-of-its-kind tracking of unintentional shootings by children 17 or under across the United States. The index reveals New York has suffered at least 4 unintentional shootings involving children, resulting in four injuries in 2015—including shootings in Yonkers and Brooklyn.
Nationally the #NotAnAccident Index indicates that since January 1, 2015, there have been at least 101 unintentional shootings involving children, resulting in 72 injuries and 31 deaths—that’s an average of one unintentional child shooting in America every 36 hours. The index is based on media coverage and police reports of instances where a child 17 years or younger unintentionally fired a gun and harmed either him or herself or another person.
The New York shootings on the #NotAnAccident Index are:
- March 20, 2015, Brooklyn, NY
While playing with his parents’ .22-caliber rifle, a nine-year-old boy unintentionally shot and injured a 14-year-old girl in the shoulder. The girl was treated at an area hospital and released later that night.
- April 4, 2015, Brooklyn, NY
While playing around with a handgun, a 15-year-old boy unintentionally shot himself in the chest. A friend of the victim initially told police the teen was the victim of a botched robbery, but police later found unspecified evidence that the teen had shot himself.
- April 21, 2015, Yonkers, NY
Two 17-year-old girls were playing with a handgun when it discharged, hitting one. The victim was treated at a local hospital and released. The other girl, Omaiah Thompson, was arrested and charged with felony assault and weapon possession.
- May 25, 2015, Yonkers, NY
Four-year-old Makayla Manners shot herself in the face with a semi-automatic handgun she found in her family’s apartment. She was taken to an area hospital, and as of May 27 remained in critical but responsive condition. Police did not immediately announce the origin of the gun or file charges.
In efforts to reduce the number of shootings by children, Everytown and Moms Demand Action recently launched the Be SMART campaign, a new public education campaign asking gun owners and non-gun owners alike to come together to reduce the number of unintentional shootings, suicides, and homicides that occur when firearms are not stored responsibly and children or teens get ahold of a gun. The campaign asks parents and caretakers to take five steps to help prevent shootings by children: Secure all guns in your home and vehicles; Model responsible behavior around guns; Ask about the presence of unsecured guns in other homes; Recognize the risks of teen suicide; Tell your peers to be SMART. More information on Be SMART is available at BeSMARTforKids.org.
As part of the Be SMART campaign to promote gun safety in communities nationwide, Everytown and Moms Demand Action will provide one gunlock for every supporter who completes the online gun safety quiz on BeSMARTforKids.org to Moms Demand Action chapters to distribute at local gun safety awareness events.