Opinion

Firearms should be out of the reach of children

An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A tragic holiday shooting in Kanawha County provides gun owners with another reminder of the importance of keeping weapons secured and away from children.

A 9-year-old boy apparently took a family shotgun out for target practice Sunday near Quick, W.Va. The weapon accidentally fired and hit a 10-year-old girl, Payton Thomas, who was with him. She was rushed to the hospital in Charleston but died overnight.

Police are still investigating how the boy got the weapon, but family members have said that believe he took it from his grandparents home where the two children were playing.

Not surprisingly, that easy access to a weapon is behind many of the accidental shootings by children each year. It is hard to get a count on such incidents because different states categorize accidents in different ways, and in many states, the details of death records are not open to the public. But this fall, the New York Times identified 259 accidental firearm deaths of children under age 15 in eight states where records were available.

In some of the incidents, adults had made significant efforts to secure the weapons, but more often, that was not the case…

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