Number of children injured, killed in accidental shootings increased in 2016

Law enforcement officials urge gun owners to use caution

(Getty Images)

Herbert James, 24, was moving his gun from an unsecure location in his home Wednesday morning when it went off, according to a Leesburg police report.

The bullet passed through a closet and struck his 4-year-old son in the chest, according to the report.

News 6 has learned the number of accidental shootings involving children in Florida has remained in double digits and increased in 2016.

Deputy Stanley Murray is a 23-year veteran of the Orange County Sheriff's Office and teaches gun safety.

 "We encourage here at the sheriff's office that if you are a gun owner, understand that it comes with a great responsibility,"  he said.  

Murray has seen his share of accidents.

 "A lot of people have shot themselves accidentally cleaning their gun," he said. "Adults, not just children."

In 2014, 35 children under the age of 18 were injured or killed in Florida in unintentional shootings, according to Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit organization that tracks shootings nationally. In 2015 there were 33. In 2016, the number jumped to 42.

Murray said more safety training is the key to lowering those numbers.

"I always tell people to educate themselves fully," he said

Murray believes every gun owner should go through concealed weapons training.

Law enforcement officers are required to be recertified on using their weapons every year.
Murray believes it would be a good idea for private gun owners to do the same.

The sheriff's office has a crime prevention unit that will come to any homeowner's association or business to talk about gun safety, according to Murray.

About the Author: