It may seem kind of redundant that I am blaming lax gun control laws on the death of another child. Well, it is redundant. Another child is dead because his parents were too stupid to keep a loaded gun out of his reach. As evidenced by yet another tragic story, too many people are too stupid to own guns.

A 4-year-old accidentally shot and killed his 2-year-old brother while playing with his father’s loaded handgun. The parents were home at the time. The children were playing in the parent’s room, where the loaded gun was apparently stored in such a manner that a 4-year-old could find it. The couple’s 1-year-old son was also home, but their 5-year-old was at school. These people kept a loaded gun in a house with four children under the age of 5-years-old. Unbelievable.

The father told police he bought the gun for “personal protection.” From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Paramedics tried to revive Neegnco, but he died in an ambulance at the scene, said Minneapolis police Sgt. William Palmer, who called the shooting “a horrible accident” and a reminder to safely and properly store firearms.

“The Minneapolis Police Department wants to remind everyone who has a firearm in their home that it is their responsibility to lock up firearms to prevent tragic accidents from occurring.”

Yes, it is a “horrible accident.” But how long can we continue to label these deaths as “accidents,” when so many happen every year? More than 500 kids die annually from accidental gunshots. U.S. census data from 2010 shows 40-45% of American households contain at least one gun. How many of these households have children in them? How many of these gun owners are savvy enough to lock their loaded weapons away, out of the reach of their children? Apparently, not enough.

In this particular case, the victim’s uncle had a permit for the gun and he and his brother (the child’s father) had attended gun safety classes. That still wasn’t enough to stop this man from storing a loaded gun in a home with four young children, who apparently had grown used to playing with toy guns:

Neighbor Ifra Ali described the parents as “a good mom and dad” and the family as “good neighbors.”

She did recall seeing the youngsters play with “fake guns” in the back yard. “I didn’t realize they had a real gun in the house,” she said. “It surprises me.”

Yash Xiong said his brother had bought plastic guns for his children to play with at a dollar store.

Another neighbor, Donny Nguyen, said he would often see the boys in the nearby playground chasing one another around with plastic guns and knives. One time, his mother said she saw one of the boys wielding what looked like a small kitchen knife.

Are guns tools for protection, or “toys?” If you decide to keep one in your home around your children – you better decide. This child is dead because of his own parents’ negligence. That is awful. How many more of these stories do we have to read, until we believe that whatever we are doing in this country to control accidental gun violence is not working. 

(photo: alexmillos/ Shutterstock.com)