Last year in the United States, toddlers shot themselves or someone else at a rate of about once a week. Through the first four months of 2016, toddler-involved shootings are up nearly 28 percent; since April 20, American toddlers have shot seven people, including a Milwaukee woman who died after sustaining a gunshot wound from her 2-year-old son.
In all, 23 people have been shot by children under 4 years old in 2016, up from 18 at this time last year, the Washington Post reports. In the vast majority of these cases, children accidentally shot themselves: A toddler has fired a bullet into his or her own body 18 times this year. In nine of those cases, the wounds were fatal. Small children have fatally shot other people twice in 2016 — the mother in Milwaukee last week and a 9-year-old boy shot by his younger brother in Alabama in February. These shootings have been concentrated in a handful of states, with Georgia suffering eight since January 2015, while Texas and Mississippi have each seen seven.
Fortunately, there are now more guns in America than human beings. So it shouldn’t be long before the gun-free zones that enable these horrors are finally eliminated.