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Georgia in Top 10 States With Highest Number of Accidental Shootings of Children

Two girls holding a banner with word guns strikethrough. Women holding sign that says not guns at a rally.

The rate of children finding guns and hurting themselves or others is on the rise throughout Georgia, according to a study from the gun-safety advocacy group Everytown For Gun Safety. Guns are the number-one leading cause of death among children and teens in Georgia, according to the report.

In 2023, 19 of the 395 accidental shootings among children in the U.S. were in Georgia, a state that does not require gun owners to securely store guns to prevent access and protect children.
Child access prevention laws are however currently in place in 26 states, while Georgia has the distinction of being in the top 10 states for unintentional shootings of or by children.

The other nine states rounding out that dubious distinction are; Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri, Alaska, South Carolina, Alabama, Ohio, and Indiana.

Atlanta Police Officer Anthony Grant said in a previous interview with Fox 5 that incidents of child shootings are the calls he dreas most.

“It certainly is tough. Every victim is a priority, but children, of course, are different,” Grant said.

Grant said many times, gun security isn’t something some gun owners think about until it is too late.

“A lot of gun owners in their home will keep it close to the nightstand, underneath the bed, and these are places where a child can go,” Grant said. “The best way to keep a gun out of the hands of a child is to secure it. Lock it.”

And that’s part of McDowell’s mission.

“As gun owners, take that responsibility,” she said. “Make sure that that gun is inaccessible to that child at all times, because it’s more than just telling your child, or knowing that your child will not touch it. Just realize that you just never know in that moment what will happen.”

Officer Grant said if a gun ends up falling into the wrong hands, the gun owner could face criminal charges.

“It can lead to charges such as reckless conduct or child negligence,” Grant said. “Of course each case is different, and must be investigated, but I can certainly lead to consequences.”

Gun lockboxes run about $100 online. Cable locks that run through the chamber and come out the magazine well could cost as little a ten dollars.

McDowell said that if it ends up saving a child’s life, and sparing a mother the pain she has endured, it would be worth every penny.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta witnessed an average of one child injured by a gun per month in 2003. The number of gun injuries among children has steadily increased over the years. In 2018, the monthly average was about four, which then doubled in 2022 to approximately eight.

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