'Guns don't kill people, toddlers do,' says ad

By Peter Holley

A still from the new gun-control PSA focused on children.
A still from the new gun-control PSA focused on children.

There are numerous proposals floating around Congress for reducing America's gun violence epidemic, including: Shutting down online gun sales; strengthening background checks; banning people on the terrorist watch list from purchasing firearms.

But in its latest public service ad, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has introduced a solution for ending gun-related deaths that you've probably never considered: Cracking down on America's toddlers.

"Americans are shot by toddlers at least once a week," the one-minute video notes. "We need to lock them up. Not the guns - that's just un-American. Round them up. Deport them. Get them out of our country. And keep them away from guns."

The idea of deporting toddlers is clearly satirical, but the organisation claims that it highlights an actual problem.

"This PSA is satire," Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign, said. "But the public health crisis it calls attention to is anything but. Whether the trigger is pulled by a toddler, a convicted felon, domestic abuser or terrorist, we have a problem in America with guns too easily falling into the wrong hands. And that translates to hundreds of lives lost or changed forever every single day."

Last week, AP and USA Today released findings from a 2 -year analysis of minors killed by firearms. The study - which looked at accidental shootings involving children aged 17 and younger from January 1, 2014, to June 30 of this year - analysed more than 1000 incidents in total, according to USA Today.

Researchers relied on several sources of information, including news reports, public sources and data collected by the Gun Violence Archive, a nonpartisan research group, the paper reported.

What did researchers discover? "During the first six months of this year, minors died from accidental shootings - at their own hands, or at the hands of other children or adults - at a pace of one every other day, far more than limited federal statistics indicate."

Researchers also concluded that, in at least one year, government statistics failed to capture the full extent of accidental gun deaths involving minors. In 2014, the study reported, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that 74 minors died from accidental discharges of firearms. The AP and USA Today review, however, put that number far higher, at 113, for the same year.

"Deaths and injuries spike for children under 5, with 3-year-olds the most common shooters and victims among young children," USA Today reported. "Nearly 90 3-year-olds were killed or injured in the shootings, the vast majority of which were self-inflicted."

Last week, a 3-year-old boy in a suburb outside Chicago was killed after shooting himself in the head with his father's gun, according to the Waukegan Police Department.

- Washington Post

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