The New York Times says the number of cases of children shot accidentally, usually by other children, happen far more often than officials records show. A review of hundreds of child firearm deaths found that accidental shootings occurred roughly twice as often as the records indicate, because of idiosyncrasies in how such deaths are classified by the authorities. Scores of accidental killings are not reflected in statistics that have framed the debate over how to protect children from guns.
The NRA cited the lower official numbers this year in a fact sheet opposing “safe storage” laws, saying incorrectly that children were more likely to be killed by falls, poisoning or environmental factors. In all, fewer than 20 states have enacted laws to hold adults criminally liable if they fail to store guns safely, enabling children to access them. Technical issues have been an obstacle, but so have N.R.A. arguments that the problem is relatively insignificant and the technology unneeded. Because of maneuvering in Congress by the gun lobby and its allies, firearms have also been exempted from regulation by the Consumer Product Safety Commission since its inception.