My Facebook feed lighted up this weekend after two of my friends with high school boys were talking about an incident that happened. The boys were playing with a BB gun. The gun went off and one was shot in the chest. He is fine. Both moms are mortified.
The boy who owned the gun had been taught about gun safety and will now be taking another gun safety class, but here’s what I know about boys and guns:
They are drawn to them. And they do stupid things.
I wrote about kids and gun safety in a 2014 story: Should you ask about guns in the home before children’s play dates?
Of course, in my head, I was thinking about much younger kids, not high schoolers.
I quoted a couple of statistics:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that from 2007 to 2011 an average of 62 children a year ages 14 and younger were accidentally shot and killed.
A June 2014 study from Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action found that there were 100 such cases from December 2012 to December 2013; 14 of those deaths were in Texas. About 65 percent of these deaths happened in a victim’s home or vehicle, and most of the guns were owned legally but were not stored safely. And 19 percent happened at the home of a relative or friend. Moms of boys: 77 percent of the victims were boys and 82 percent of the shooters were boys. The risks go up during the preschool years (ages 2 to 4) and the teen years (ages 12 to 14).
Those statistics and this incident is a good reminder that gun safety classes are important, but nothing can replace parental supervision and guns that are locked away to prevent kids — even our teenagers — from accessing them.
What’s new in gun legislation this session of the legislature? A lot, but one particular bill being introduced by Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford would allow a person to carry a gun without having a license. The bill, known as the Texas Constitutional Carry Act of 2017 goes through the penal code and removes “license holder” and changes it to “the person”
Texas Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and gun violence survivors from the Everytown Survivor Network are protesting that bill and others this morning at the state capitol.