The shooting death of a of a 2-year-old girl in Kentucky by her 5-year-old brother has opened up yet another debate about gun control, says NPR. There is no consensus on the appropriate age to start hands-on training with firearms. “Many people who have firearms familiarize their kids with firearms early on, because they want them to know that this is not something to be trifled with,” says Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America, a gun rights advocacy group.
Public health advocates believe there’s little benefit in allowing any children to handle guns. The American Academy of Pediatrics says the best way to prevent firearm injury is to keep guns out of children’s homes and communities. “In terms of safety, why would you want these kids around incredibly dangerous products?” says David Hemenway of Harvard University’s Injury Control Research Center. “It’s hard to imagine how this increases safety at all — let’s play with a dangerous product.” The number of children unintentionally killed by firearms is about 125 per year, says the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. More than 3,000 children are treated for accidental shootings in emergency rooms each year.