Memphis leads country in accidental shootings involving children

Memphis leads the country on a per-capita basis when it comes to the number of accidental child shootings, a recent investigation by The Associated Press and USA Today reveals.

In the entire country, only Chicago has more.

So far in 2016, nine children under the age of 18 have been unintentionally shot.

The first accidental child shot came just three days into 2016. Two weeks ago, another teen was shot in the abdomen at a Hickory Hill home. It happened when a number of teens were nonchalantly playing with a gun.

In May, a teenage girl was getting her hair done when another teen accidentally shot her in the chest. The girl’s mother said her daughter is going to survive.

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Unfortunately, younger kids involved in accidental shootings do not often survive.

At a Raleigh home in June of last year, a 4-year old boy picked up his father's handgun and accidentally shot himself. The toddler died.

According to national data, over the last 2 1/2 years there have been more than 1,000 accidental shootings nationwide. More than 350 people died in those shootings, and more than 320 were kids.

"I wouldn't say I'm surprised by it, I'm troubled by it," Chip Holland said when he heard about the national and Memphis statistics.

Holland is a police officer in Tennessee and training director at Range USA in Bartlett.

Holland said he is troubled because kids and gun accidents are preventable.

“The biggest thing is put [firearms] up, secure them. If [kids] don't have access to them they can't do anything with them,” said Holland.

When asked about the alarming numbers in Memphis, Holland attributed the problem to, “the tremendous amount of guns. You've got 250,000 handgun permit holders in the state of Tennessee, and 50,000 reside in Shelby County. There's a lot of guns in this area.”

More guns should not mean more kids harmed though, Holland believes it means there needs to be more responsibility.

“You are there to protect your child, and [if] your child gets access to your firearm, you are not protecting your child,” he said.