The Pennsylvania chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both a part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement after an unintentional shooting in the Tioga-Nicetown area of Philadelphia in which, a 10-year-old boy, while home alone with his 8-year-old sister, found a gun in a cabinet and unintentionally shot and killed himself.
“Our hearts break after news of this awful shooting, and we’re keeping this family in our thoughts,” said Jessica Kapadia, a volunteer with the Pennsylvania chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Unintentional shootings by children have been on the rise this past year, showing just how vital it is to securely store guns. We can and must prevent even more kids’ lives from being cut short by these senseless tragedies: securely store your guns and tell everyone you know to do the same.”
As gun sales and gun violence have increased over the last year, so have unintentional shootings by children. During the pandemic, unintentional shootings by children have increased significantly, according to data from the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, the research and education arm of Everytown for Gun Safety. According to the #NotAnAccident Index, there have been at least 6 other gun deaths and 1 injury as a result of unintentional shootings by children under age 18 in Pennsylvania in 2021. In May, an 11-year-old boy was unintentionally shot and killed by a 14-year-old handling a gun when it was accidentally discharged in a Middle Smithfield Township home.
Research shows that to protect children and teens, gun owners should store guns unloaded, locked, and separate from ammunition. Between March and December of 2020, there was a 31 percent increase in unintentional shooting deaths by children and an 18 percent increase in unintentional injuries, compared to the same time period in 2019.
Developed by the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund and Moms Demand Action, the Be SMART program helps parents and other adults normalize conversations about gun safety and take responsible actions that can prevent child gun deaths and injuries.
The program encourages parents and adults to:
- Secure all guns in their home and vehicles
- Model responsible behavior around guns
- Ask about the presence of unsecured guns in other homes
- Recognize the role of guns in suicide
- Tell your peers to be SMART
For more information on the Be SMART program and how to safely secure your firearms, visit the Be SMART website. Additional information about unintentional shootings is here. If you are interested in speaking with a policy or research expert, please don’t hesitate to reach out.