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Guns in homes with children: Just say no

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Tuesday morning Linda Maddox, 63, lay asleep in her bed in her home in Tampa, Florida. Her son, Reginald, was working that night and she did not feel safe. For this reason she placed a .22 caliber gun near her bed, and, just for extra caution, placed a chair under the door handle.

Around 1 a.m. she heard the sound of the chair moving as someone turned the knob. Frightened, she picked up her gun and shot through the dark towards the door.

Her seven-year-old grandson Tyler screamed and fell to the floor with a single bullet wound in his chest. He and his brother Tyrique had been spending the night with his grandmother and had been sleeping in the room next door.

Why he entered his grandmother's bedroom is unknown, but it is not likely he intended to do her harm or expected be shot by his loving grandmother.

Tyler was critically injured, but doctors believe he will eventually be all right. At least he will be all right physically. He had an unfortunate accident.

He is one of the lucky ones. He lived. Each year approximately 1500 children under the age of 18 who are shot with guns home do not.

The sad fact is that if there is a gun in the home with children, the most likely one to be seriously injured or killed by that gun is one of the children.

Statistics provided by the Nationwide Children's Hospital

  • More homes in the U.S. have guns than have dogs.
  • Approximately one third of all homes with children also have guns. This is about 22 million children who live in homes with guns.
  • Half of the unintentional shootings of children take place in their homes. The other half takes place in the homes of friends.

How can I keep my children safe from guns?

  1. The best way is not to have guns in your home at all, ever.
  2. If you absolutely must have a gun in your home, or think you must, be sure that the gun and the ammunition are locked up separately in to different places.
  3. Hide the locked boxes, the keys and the combinations of the locks from your children.
  4. If your children play at the homes of friends, be sure to ask if there is a gun kept in the home. If there is, ask how it is stored. Better yet, do not let your child play there.

Does gun education keep kids safe from guns?
There were no actual statistics on that subject readily available, but watch the video above from ABC. The results are shocking. Keep in mind the children are never in danger in this video. It is just a test to see if the gun education sticks.

Some additional links to information on guns in homes with children
Nationwide Children's Hospital
Guns in the home proving deadly for kids-USA Today
The Truth about Guns—Children's Defense Fund
Guns Kill Children—Slate

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