Accidental shooting deaths on the rise in Tennessee - WSMV Channel 4

Accidental shooting deaths on the rise in Tennessee

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Three children have died this year from accidentally shooting themselves Three children have died this year from accidentally shooting themselves

A tragic, avoidable situation has a family mourning the loss of a three-year-old this weekend. 

It was Friday evening when the little boy got a hold of handgun inside a Clarksville home and accidentally shot himself in the mouth. 

While it's Fourth of July weekend a lot of parents minds are likely on firework safety , when the real threat may be right inside their homes, a gun. 

Close to a dozen children in Tennessee were killed last year because they or another child accidentally shot a gun.  

This year we continue to see the same thing happen time and time again when in actuality the number could be zero.

"It's about 240 or 250 bucks, is your child's life worth it?" said Karen Becotte, the range supervisor at the Nashville Armory.

It may sound like a lot of money but gun safes can mean the difference between life and death. 

"I understand that people have a need to be able to defend themselves and be able to access their firearms quickly, with this new technology they could do that quickly and still secure it from a small child," said Lt. Steve Warren with the Clarksville Police Department.

Biometric safes only require a finger print scan to open. 

It is a good way to keep a gun loaded and ready to protect your yourself at the same time keeping it away from children. 

"It happens constantly, last year there was a total of 10 children that died as a result," said Beth Joslin Roth, policy director for The Safe Tennessee Project.

Fifteen more children were injured last year in the state according to The Safe Tennessee Project.

"Our number one objective is to reduce the number of children who are injured and killed in these completely 100 percent preventable tragedies. The way we see that can be done is through education,"said Roth.

Friday night's accidental shooting in Clarksville is the 13th incident of a child in Tennessee gaining access to a loaded gun and shooting themselves or someone else this year, and it's the third death. 

"It's something that a lot of officers and other first responders have to live with," said Lt. Warren. 

It is hard to imagine what the homeowner in Clarksville is now going to be living with knowing it was their unlocked gun that killed a three-year-old who was at the home visiting. 

Roth said this should serve as a reminder for all parents to get in the habit of asking their children's friend's parents how they store their guns before allowing their children in that home.

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