via St. Louis County Police
The Hanley Hills home where a 21-month-old fatally shot himself with a loaded handgun in August.
Missouri is home to more shootings by toddlers than any other state this year, according to a report from The Washington Post.
Cases where toddlers shoot themselves or another person are very rare, though not as rare as you might think. The WaPo investigation revealed 43 cases in 24 states of toddlers killing or wounding themselves or others with a gun in 2015. Thirty-one of those cases involved the toddler finding the gun and shooting himself or herself.
Missouri has had five toddler shootings this year, according to the data. Florida comes in second place with four shootings. The report does not include cases of toddlers getting shot by adults or older children.
Each of Missouri’s five toddler shooting cases involves the child shooting himself or herself, sometimes fatally. Here’s the breakdown:
- In February, a 3-year-old boy in Florissant found a handgun and accidentally shot himself, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- In July, a 3-year-old in Kansas City died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, via KMBC.
- Later that month, a 3-year-old shot himself in the arm in Columbia, according to KOMU.
- Also in July, prosecutors filed felony charges against a St. Louis man after his 3-year-old nephew shot himself in the face while alone in a room with four loaded guns, according to the Post-Dispatch.
- And in August, a 21-month-old toddler found a handgun and shot himself in Hanley Hills northwest of St. Louis, via NBC News.
The words “accident” or “accidental” are used in the reports for all five of Missouri’s toddler shooting cases. But Everytown for Gun Safety, which advocates for stricter gun laws, puts blame on gun owners who don’t properly store firearms. The group says more than two-thirds of child gun accidents “could be avoided if gun owners stored their guns responsibly and prevented children from accessing them.”