A Colorado toddler was shot on Monday by a 5 year-old boy. According to police, the boy received the handgun used to shoot a 3 year-old girl from an older, 9 year-old boy who had been playing with it prior to giving it to the young shooter. Upon receiving the handgun, the younger boy pointed at the girl and pulled the trigger.
Police are still investigating how the older boy obtained the gun. According to Reuters, the shooting victim was airlifted to a hospital where she is in critical but stable condition following surgery.
The notion that adults should keep guns in their home in order to protect their families from intruders is a core belief held by many gun owners. Indeed, the Supreme Court’s seminal Second Amendment decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, claimed that, in a person’s home, “the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute.” But the reality is that, when a person brings a gun into their home, they are much more likely to endanger themselves and their family than to protect them.
For every incident where a gun is used in self-defense within someone’s home, guns are also used in 7 assaults or murders, 11 attempts at suicide and 4 accidental shootings. A 2003 study found that the risk of an accidental shooting death is 3 times higher in homes with a single gun. In homes with multiple firearms, the risk is nearly 4 times higher.