Two Little Girls Unintentionally Shot and Killed in Less Than A Week
On Friday August 4th in Stewart County, a 5-year-old girl was unintentionally shot by an adult family member who was either cleaning a firearm or clearing the chamber when the gun fired, striking the child in the shoulder. She was transported to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. So far, no charges have been filed.
And yesterday in LaFollette, a 10-year-old unintentionally shot his 9-year-old sister in the head while the two were sitting in a car in a shopping center parking lot outside a Little Ceaser’s Pizza. She was flown to UT hospital, but was later pronounced dead. So far, no charges have been filed.
“In just a span of a few days, two little girls lost their lives because an adult in their life was irresponsible and careless with a gun,” said Beth Joslin Roth, policy director for The Safe Tennessee Project. “Being a gun owner is a tremendous responsibility. If you can’t follow the most basic rules of gun safety, making certain a gun is unloaded before cleaning it and keeping loaded guns out of the hands of children, you have absolutely no business owning a gun. You are putting your family and the public at risk.”
To date this year, there have been at least 33 unintentional shootings in Tennessee resulting in nine deaths. Ten were the result of a child with access to a negligently stored gun.
The latest incidents are a reminder of Tennessee’s ongoing problem with unintentional shootings.
- Last year, Tennessee led the entire nation in shootings resulting from negligent storage of firearms. Of all cities, Memphis had the most. Nashville was tied for third.
- Using the most recent CDC data from 2016, Tennessee is ranked 8th in the nation for unintentional shooting deaths.
- In 2016, a joint investigation by the AP and USA Today found that Tennessee was one of the states with the highest rates of unintentional shootings involving children.
- In 2015, The CDC released a report of the “most distinctive” causes of death. Alabama and Tennessee had the unfortunate distinction of being the two states where “accidental discharge of firearms” was the most distinctive cause of death.
“Two little girls’ lives are over because of adult carelessness. It’s completely unacceptable,” said Roth. “This is not a second amendment issue. This is an issue of basic responsibility and public safety.”