Thursday, May 5, 2016

Gun rights: pre-school edition

With the increased expansion of both concealed and open carry privileges, including in schools, this is going to be even more common.
During a single week in April, four toddlers — Holston, Kiyan, Za’veon and Sha’Quille — shot and killed themselves, and a mother driving through Milwaukee was killed after her 2-year-old apparently picked up a gun that had slid out from under the driver’s seat. It was a brutal stretch, even by the standards of researchers who track these shootings.
These are shooters who need help tying their shoelaces, too young sometimes to even say the word “gun,” killed by their own curiosity.
They accidentally fire a parent’s pistol while playing cops and robbers, while riding in a shopping cart, after finding it in the pocket of the coat their father forgot to wear to work.
They are the most maddening gun deaths in America. Last year, at least 30 people were killed in accidental shootings in which the shooter was 5 or younger, according to Everytown For Gun Safety, a gun control advocacy group that tracks these shootings, largely through news reports.
With shootings by preschoolers happening at a pace of about two per week, some of the victims were the youngsters’ parents or siblings, but in many cases the children ended up taking their own lives.
But of course, there's nothing we can do about this because gun rights...
Twenty-seven states have laws that hold adults responsible for letting children have unsupervised access to guns, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, though experts say such measures have, at best, a small effect on reducing gun deaths. Massachusetts is the only state that requires gun owners to store their guns in a locked place, though it has not stopped youngsters there from accidentally killing themselves or other children.
Gun rights groups have long opposed these kinds of laws. They argue that trigger locks can fail, that mandatory storage can put a gun out of reach in an emergency, and that such measures infringe on Second Amendment rights.
“It’s clearly a tragedy, but it’s not something that’s widespread,” said Larry Pratt, a spokesman and former executive director of Gun Owners of America. “To base public policy on occasional mishaps would be a grave mistake.”
"Occasional mishap". Right.
Anyone who has lived with children, toddlers on up, knows this: if it is in your purse, they will find it; if it is in your backpack, they will find it; if it is in your pocket, or closet, or drawer, or your hiding place so secret even you can't remember where it is, they will find it. And it seems that this is as true of guns as it is of everything else. In a country whose households treat guns as casually as phones or pencils, the rising incidence of toddlers finding and shooting guns is not surprising. What is surprising is the obstinate refusal to do anything about it besides charging parents with murder. Larry Pratt and his crew pose more danger to children than Jerry Sandusky.

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