Safe Tennessee Policy Director Launches National Organization to Address Unintentional Shootings of Children

On the heel of the recent Newsweek feature story on MaKayla’s Law and the new Gannett and Associated Press analysis on unintentional shootings of children that notes the high number of these incidents in Memphis, The Safe Tennessee Project Policy Director launches Children’s Firearm Safety Alliance, a national coalition focused on preventing shootings of children who find loaded, unsecured guns and fire them.

Tennessee State Senators Sara Kyle and Lee Harris and Representative Sherry Jones are among the endorsers of CFSA.



L to R, Dr. Douglas Schuerer, Director of Trauma surgery, Barnes-Jewish Hospital; Beth Joslin Roth, Safe Tennessee Project; Dr. “Bo” Kennedy, Emergency Pediatrics, St. Louis Children’s Hospital; MO State Rep. Stacey Newman; Dr. Jason Purnell, Washington University Brown School of Social Work; Risa Zwerling, Washington University academic advisor & wife of Chancellor Mark Wrighton and Dr. Robert Flood, Emergency Pediatrics, Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital.

ST. LOUIS, MO – In response to the overwhelming number of unintentional shootings of kids by kids, the national Children’s Firearm Safety Alliance (CFSA) is formally launched today, October 14, 2016 at Washington University School of Medicine Institute for Public Health.

  • As of October 10, 2016, 83 children under the age of 6 years old this year unintentionally shot themselves or someone else because of careless access to a loaded gun, usually in a home.
  • As of October 10, 2016, 25 two years olds unintentionally pulled a trigger and shot themselves or someone else this year.
  • According to the Center for Disease Control, every single day in America at least 6 kids are injured in an unintentional shooting.

Directed by Beth Joslin Roth, policy director of Safe Tennessee Project and Missouri State Rep. Stacey Newman, CFSA is a national coalition of physicians, medical organizations, law enforcement, prosecutors, lawmakers and gun violence prevention advocates throughout the country – focused on reducing unintentional shootings of kids with access to loaded unsecured firearms through policy advocacy, legislation and education. CFSA also maintains a unique data base updated daily of every national unintentional shooting by kids.

23 states do not hold adults criminally liable for unintentional shootings or negligent storage of firearms.  CFSA is working closely with state legislative bill sponsors in 12 states to close the loopholes in child endangerment statutes in order to save children’s lives.  Rep. Newman will re-file her child access prevention bill in the Missouri House in 2017.

According to the newly released report from the Center for American Progress, America Under Fire, “a person is accidentally killed with a gun every 15 hours in the United States.  While accidental gun deaths account for the smallest portion of overall gun deaths, making up around 2 percent of annual gun deaths, in the United States, they often occur in the most tragic of circumstances and involve young children who gan access to leaded guns that were improperly stored.  In 2015, more people were fatally shot in the United States by toddler with guns than by terrorists. “

“Last legislative session in Tennessee, we tried to pass MaKayla’s Law, a bill that would have held gun owners responsible if their decision to leave a loaded gun unsecured resulted in a child under 13 picking up the gun, firing it, and injuring or killing themelves or someone else.  The bill had the support of district attorneys, the Tennessee chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and responsible gun owners from across the state.  Yet, the NRA targeted the bill, pressured lawmakers and made sure it was killed in committee.  This is not acceptable.  We founded CFSA because we believe we should be protecting kids, not irresponsible gun owners.  Gun violence is complicated.  Keeping guns secure and out of the hands of children is not.” – Safe Tennessee Project Policy Director Beth Joslin Roth, CFSA co-director

“In 2015 Missouri had the distinction of being first in the nation in the number of toddler shootings – kids under the age of three who found a gun and shot themselves or someone else.  Already this year more toddlers than terrorists have fatally shot someone in the U.S.  To date across the nation there have been 245 incidents in which a child has found a gun, usually in the home and unintentionally shot themselves or others.  I am disgusted that because of lax or the absence of child endangerment laws in many states including Missouri and Tennessee, we are sacrificing our children to “accidents” and no one is being held accountable.” Missouri State Rep. Stacey Newman, CFSA co-director

“As a parent, I strive to protect my children from harm at any cost, which is why I have introduced legislation in the Pennsylvania House through multiple legislative sessions that would require firearm owners to be responsible for their weapons when children are present and require secure storage, and why I am a proud member of the Children’s Firearm Safety Alliance.” –  Pennsylvania State Rep. Tim Briggs, CFSA endorser

“Gun violence has reached an epidemic level, and as legislators, it is incumbent upon us to take action to stop this public health crisis. I am thrilled to work with other legislators across the country as a member of the Children’s Firearm Safety Alliance to advance policy that keeps our children and our communities safe from gun violence and prevents gun-related accidents.” – Wisconsin State Rep. Lisa Subeck, CFSA endorser

National medical organizations including the American Medical Women’s Association and Physicians for Prevention of Gun Violence are vocal endorsers of CFSA, along with physicians across the country who are working closely with local officials and gun violence advocates through advocacy and education to save children’s lives.

We as physicians treat far too many children in our communities who have been victims of firearm violence or injury and often, we tragically must tell their families we cannot save them.  We support CFSA because of our mission of reducing senseless gun violence as a public health and medical issue.”  Dr. Stephanie Bonne,
American Medical Women’s Association, Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chair, CFSA endorser

Neither Missouri or Tennessee hold adults criminally responsible for children being untentionally shot or has a safe firearm storage law.

Click here to see a list of over 30 physicians, attorneys, lawmakers, and mayors who have endorsed CFSA so far.

Click here to access the searchable CFSA national database of unintentional child shooting incidents.

Click here to see Beth Joslin Roth speak at the CFSA launch.

Click here to see the other speakers from the CFSA launch.

One comment

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