The Tennessee chapter of Moms Demand Action, part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement after an unintentional shooting in Sumner County in which a 6-year-old boy was unintentionally shot and killed. Details are still developing.
On July 7, an 8-year-old boy was unintentionally shot and killed in Goodlettsville, making this the second shooting in Sumner County in less than two weeks.
“Our hearts are broken for these two boys and their families,” said Jessie McKinney, a volunteer with the Tennessee chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Too many children’s lives in Tennessee and around the country have been cut short because of unintentional shootings, showing just how vital it is to securely store guns. We can and must prevent even more of these senseless tragedies in our community by being smart and securely storing firearms.”
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, Tennessee has seen at least 7 other unintentional shootings by children under age 18 this year, including 5 deaths and 3 injuries.
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