A 4-year-old North Charleston boy has died after officials say it appears he shot himself in the head with a gun in a Summerville home.
It’s estimated that more American homes have guns than dogs and accidents can happen to children of all ages.
“It doesn’t take a lot to fire a weapon,” Henry Perritt of Henry’s Sporting Goods in Mount Pleasant explained.
That’s why there are numerous locks, vaults and safes designed to keep kids safe.
“I actually take my child out and educate them with the gun and teach them how to shoot it and how to handle it and not to touch it when I’m not around. But, even with that said, I still lock all my firearms up,” Perritt said.
Gun safety experts say it’s getting even cheaper to be safe. Many manufactures and police departments give away free gun locks. Some newly manufactured guns now come with a lock already installed.
“So, the gun actually locks itself. So, the gun cannot be loaded or discharged,” Perritt explained.
If you want to keep a loaded gun at home, experts suggest keeping it in a safe or vault.
“You can put it in the vault. You can shut it, and lock it with a key pad. They are very simple and fast to open. By using these mini vaults, these guns can be accessed in less than 30 seconds. It’s a very quick response,” Perritt said.
According to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital of Columbus, Ohio, one in three families with children have at least one gun in the house. That’s more than 22 million children in homes with guns. Most of the victims of accidental shootings are boys who are usually shot by a friend or relative; especially a brother.
“Some of it can be from network, we see cops and robbers and things of that sort. But as a responsible gun owner we’ve got to step up our game. We’ve got to educate these kids and spend time with them,” Perritt said.
They say that education is right on target, because children are often away from the safety measures of home.
“The grandparents are not used to having children in the house and forget about the firearm that they’ve got hidden in the top of the closet,” Perritt said.
Gun safety experts say children should be reminded that guns are not toys. Some suggest not even allowing children to point toy guns at people while playing.