Child shooting prompts new calls for harsher penalties in unattended gun cases

Posted at 4:48 PM, Jul 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-23 19:41:42-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Gun safety advocates are pointing to the overnight shooting of a two-year-old boy as reason to why the state needs to create harsher penalties for gun owners who leave their guns unattended.

The group Safe Tennessee Project works in part to prevent the death of children due to self inflicted gunfire.

"These types of shootings happen with alarming regularity in Tennessee and they're very frustrating because they are 100% preventable," said Beth Joslin Roth. "What it comes down to is adults making very irresponsible choice to leave a loaded gun laying around and available to children."

Joslin Roth said the case of the toddler shooting himself is a prime example as to why the state should increase punishments for adults who don't secure their guns and children get ahold of them, injuring themselves or others.

2-year-old shoots himself with father's unattended gun, police say

"A gun owners most important responsibility is keeping a gun out of unauthorized hands. Especially the hands of curious children," she said.

Safe Tennessee Project tried to pass a law that would do just that in 2019. However, the bill and similar bills like it have never made it out of committee.

"We don't really know any other way to create a deterrent and keep these parents from making irresponsible choices," she said.