A 3-year-old boy reportedly shot and killed a 1-year-old Braylon Robinson on Sunday in Cleveland with an “unattended firearm.”
Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams called it a “senseless loss of life,” adding the country needs to take effective steps to “get these guns out of our communities.”
As shocking and tragic the news of Robinson’s death is, it’s equally disturbing to note that the toddler was the 24th victim of "accidental" shootings of children under the age of 15 – in less than four months this year, according to David Waldman, contributing editor for Daily Kos.
Waldman has been keeping a record of accidental shootings of children in the U.S. reported in the media on Pinterest. He traced 90 such incidents last year – a number far more than what government figures show.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims there is “no nationwide data regarding the age of the person who pulls the trigger in an unintentional shooting,” though federal data shows an average of 62 children died each year as a result of such incidents between 2007 and 2011.
Last January, Yale University research, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that firearm accidents sent 7,391 children to the emergency room in 2009 – almost equal to 20 cases per day – and around 6 percent of these kids die from their injuries. In June, a group called Everytown for Gun Safety reported that two children die almost every week in unintentional shootings.
Gun lobbies like the National Rifle Association continue to ignore these grim statistics and – even worse – offer young children “free membership and the opportunity to win a high-powered rifle or shotgun” while attending so-called family festivals like “Youth Day.”
Mass shootings tend to get more media coverage in the U.S. get more attention but children are far more likely to be killed in the safety of their own homes.
“Through homicide, suicide and accidents, guns cause twice as many deaths in young people as cancer, five times as many as heart disease and 15 times as many as infections,” USA Today reported, quoting numbers from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
What’s even worse, despite the bodies piling up from shootings in the country, more and more people are buying guns each year, especially as Christmas presents.
In 2014, the National Retail Federation predicted that gun sales would rise 4 percent in November and December and they did after a record 175,000 federal background checks were conducted on Black Friday alone.
Individual shootings prompt nationwide concern and government reaction for a certain period of time, however, the issue dies down eventually with no substantial measures to curb gun violence in the country.
Prompted by the tragic December 14 Sandy Hook shooting, in which a gunman killed 20 children, six educators, his mother and himself, the national debate over gun ownership eventually led to President Barack Obama’s gun control bill in March 2013.
The proposal demanded background checks for arms buyers, along with other clauses to curb the sale of fire arms in hopes that it would curb gun violence in the country.
Unfortunately, the bill failed in the Congress a month later and there has been no significant development since.