There's much more in this story about access to guns by children.This is the tale of two families whose lives intersected — violently and permanently — on April 8 in Toms River. While playing "pretend shooting" games with Brandon Holt and other children, authorities and neighbors say, the Senatore’s 4-year-old boy bounded into his father’s bedroom, grabbed an unlocked and loaded .22-caliber rifle, walked outside to his yard and hoisted the weapon. Suddenly, one shot exploded, from 15 yards away, discharging a bullet that hit the head of 6-year-old Brandon, killing him, authorities say.Police have said it is unclear whether the 4-year-old triggered the gun intentionally, or whether it went off by accident.This is also the story of another American gun tragedy involving young children. In this case, it’s the type of suburban, child-on-child shooting that, at first, seems nearly unimaginable. But it’s more common than many realize.News articles and interviews with gun-control advocacy groups reveal that the Holts and Senatores are far from alone in confronting the horror of what happens when young children grab loaded and unlocked guns.This is also a story about how many Americans live today, even as the gun-control debate, fueled by Newtown, Conn., and other mass killings, rages around them. Through detailed reporting, this article examines a lifestyle among some New Jerseyans in which guns, hunting and target shooting are revered forms of recreation and protection.Some gun-rights advocates say the Senatores’ way of life played no role whatsoever in the tragedy that struck Brandon Holt. But gun-control groups push back: They pound the argument that the prevalence of household guns in the United States leads, unfailingly, to disasters such as the one that took the young boy’s life.Furthermore, say groups such as the Children’s Defense Fund, in America a child or teen is injured from guns every 30 minutes. And between 1963 and 2010, an estimated 166,500 children and teens died from guns on U.S. soil, the Defense Fund reports, whereas fewer than 53,000 American soldiers were killed in action in the Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq wars combined.In 2010, 82 children under age 5 lost their lives to guns, the advocacy group also says, compared with 58 law enforcement officers killed by guns in the line of duty. Meanwhile, children and teens in the United States are 67 times more likely to die from guns than children and teens in the United Kingdom.But the National Rifle Association, the powerful lobbying group, cites statistics of its own. In just one example, the NRA writes that the nation’s total violent crime rate hit an all-time high in 1991, and then declined in 18 of the next 20 years — a 49 percent drop overall — until it reached a 41-year low in 2011. At the same time, says the NRA, gun ownership and the number of privately owned guns rose to all-time highs, with the number of privately owned firearms in the United States increasing by more than 120 million.
As we always say here on this blog- Every gun in the hands of a child must first pass through the hands of an adult.