Should you ask your neighbors if they own a gun before your child plays at their house? And what do you do if they say yes?
After the tragic accidental death this month of a two-year-old Kentucky girl who had been shot by her five-year-old brother, the answer may seem obvious: Do not let your child play at a gun owner’s home, at least if you are not sure he is locking up his guns.
This shooting came just a couple of days after a prominent opinion piece in the Motherlode blog at the New York Times, in which a parent, Lisa Maxbauer, worried about her six-year-old’s visiting homes of gun owners. Another recent article at CNN, by Judith Palfrey, warned readers: “Never keep a loaded gun in the house or the car,” and “guns and ammunition should be locked away safely in separate locations in the house.”
The CDC reports that for 2010 (the latest year available), one single six-year old died from a gunshot. For all children younger than 10, there were 36 accidental gun deaths, and that is out of 41 million children. Perhaps most important, about two-thirds of these accidental gun deaths involving young children are not shots fired by other little kids but rather by adult males with criminal backgrounds. In other words, unless you send your child to play at a criminal’s home, she is exceedingly unlikely to get shot.