Time for Gun Control? 3-Year-Old Shoots and Kills 1-Year-Old

No, it is not time for gun control. It is time for parents to take control of their own lives and protect their children.

This Cleveland, Ohio tragedy where a three-year-old shot a one-year-old in the face is renewing calls for gun control. A local ABC affiliate reported on the incident:

A 1-year-old boy died after he was shot in the face, according to Cleveland Police.

Investigators said they believe the boy was shot by a 3-year-old child boy.

“It’s a sad day for Cleveland,” Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said at the scene located in the 3700 block of East 63rd Street. “A 1-year-old child lost his life.”

Williams said the gun was unattended and police are investigating where the gun came from and how the child got a hold of it. 

“A 3-year-old can’t be held accountable for a tragedy like this. There have to be adults that either supplied the weapons, had charge of the weapons or knew the weapons were there and didn’t do anything to safeguard them,” Williams said.

The victim, identified by the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s office as Braylon Robinson, died while being taken to the hospital.

The chief said at least one adult was in the home at the time of the shooting. Neighbors said the mother lived in the home with at least three children, according to the Associated Press. 

Listen to the police chief as he blames this on America’s “fascination with guns”:

This is no doubt a tragedy. But the focus of our criticism shouldn’t be the gun itself. Blame an adult who should have known better than to leave a loaded gun where a three-year-old could get a hold of it.

Let’s look at some statistics. While there aren’t any official data regarding number of accidental deaths caused by little kids with guns, we have some numbers on accidental firearm deaths in general, regardless of age. According to the CDC, in 2011, there were 591 total accidental gun deaths. We don’t know for sure how many of those shooters were little kids. More than likely, a small minority.

Compare that to the tens of thousands of annual accidental deaths resulting from motor vehicle accidents and prescription drug overdoses. Many of those people dying are children. According to the CDC, every year:

  • Over 70,000 emergency department (ED) visits result from unintentional medication overdoses among children under the age of 18;
  • One out of every 151 two-year-olds is treated in an ED for an unintentional medication overdose;
  • Over 80% of ED visits among children under the age of 12 are due to unsupervised children taking medications on their own and 10% of ED visits in this age group are due to medication errors;
  • Over-the-counter medications are involved in approximately one-third of ED visits among children under the age of 12.

These numbers don’t indicate how many kids die from overdose, but they should give us an idea of how prevalent overdoses are and how easily a small child could die from them. Little kids get in the medicine cabinet for the same reason they get their hands on a loaded gun. They’re curious.

Interestingly, government organizations don’t ever advise parents to get rid of their medications. No, they know that people have got to have their drugs. They offer helpful tips like “always keep drugs out of the reach of children.”

Do authorities offer the same advice when it comes to guns? Of course not. Instead of using these tragedies like this one in Cleveland to remind parents of how important it is not to leave loaded weapons where a little one could grab it, they use the tragedy to clamor for gun control.