In a tragic true crime incident, a two-year-old shot his own parents.
A 2-year-old boy in Maine shot his parents recently with a gun he picked up from a nightstand a from a local TV station said.
The toddler’s 25-year-old father was hit in the head, and the mother, 22, was struck in the leg in the shooting at their home in West Bath, WMTW reported, citing Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry.
The baby was injured by the recoil of the gun, authorities said. All three family members were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, according to Merry.
“The question of how the boy was able to pick up and fire the weapon is of great concern and is being investigated. This situation, while disturbing, could have had an even more tragic ending. We are thankful that the injuries were not more serious,” Merry said.
“This situation, while disturbing, could have had an even more tragic ending,” the sheriff said.
Merry said the couple’s 3-week-old baby is in the care of his grandmother, who also lives at the home but was not there at the time of the incident.
The incident remains under investigation by the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Sagadahoc County District. Merry said that so far, no charges have been issued, adding that his office offers free trigger locks upon request.
“In the 12 years I’ve been sheriff, we’ve never had a situation like this,” he said. “If you have children, you really should be securing any firearm in a locked closet or cabinet or have a trigger lock.”
The accident is prompting the Maine Gun Safety Coalition to renew their push for the passage of LD 759, legislation that would penalize parents when a child gets access to a loaded firearm, noted another local station, WGME.
“What happened is a sad, shocking example of why we need LD 759. Children are curious, and this legislation sends the message that it is not okay to leave a loaded firearm where a kid might get it,” said state Rep. Vicki Doudera (D), a sponsor of the bill.
“I hope that my fellow legislators will support this critically important child safety measure which we have seen time and again is needed in our state,” Doudera added.
This is certainly not the first such incident of a child getting a hold of a firearm and accidentally wounding or even killing another child or adult. According to Nationwide Children’s Hospitals, most of the victims of unintentional shootings are boys. They are usually shot by a friend or relative, especially a brother. And, nearly 40% of all unintentional shooting deaths among children 11-14 years of age occur in the home of a friend.
Nationwide also lists these common misconceptions many parents hold about kids and guns:
- Many parents think their children are not capable of firing a gun. However, children as young as 3 years old may be strong enough to pull the trigger of a handgun.
- Parents believe their children know the difference between real guns and toy guns, but in 16% of unintentional firearm deaths among children younger than 13 years of age, the gun was mistaken for a toy.
- Parents often believe their child would not touch a gun because “he knows better.” However, studies have found that most children will handle a gun if they find one, even if they have been taught not to.
- Some parents consider non-powder guns, like BB, pellet, and paintball guns, to be toys. These guns, which can fire at the speed of traditional guns, lead to nearly 22,000 injuries each year, especially eye injuries.
They, as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics, and law enforcement entities nationwide, all urge gun owners with children in the house to secure their firearms in a locked safe or with a trigger lock to prevent tragedies like the one in Maine.