In a six-month period, minors died from accidental shootings at a pace of one every other day, far more than federal statistics indicate, the Associated Press and USA Today report. Curious toddlers find unsecured, loaded handguns in homes and vehicles, and fatally shoot themselves and others. Teenagers, often showing off guns to their friends and siblings, end up shooting them instead. Using information collected by the Gun Violence Archive, a nonpartisan research group, news reports, and public sources, AP and USA Today spent six months analyzing the circumstances of every death and injury from accidental shootings involving children ages 17 and younger from Jan. 1, 2014, to June 30, more than 1,000 incidents in all.
Three-year-olds were the most common shooters and victims among young children. Nearly 90 three-year-olds were killed or injured in the shootings, the vast majority of which were self-inflicted. Accidental shootings spike again for ages 15-17, when victims are most often fatally shot by other children but typically survive self-inflicted gunshots. States in the deep South, including Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia, are among those with the highest per capita rates of accidental shootings involving minors. In all, more than 320 minors age 17 and under and more than 30 adults were killed in accidental shootings involving minors. Nearly 700 other children and 78 adults were injured.