DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — More than 150 children in Ohio have been severely injured in accidental shootings in the past six years, a newspaper reported Monday.
The Dayton Daily News (http://bit.ly/Iga2sw ) reported that statistics show that accidents were the leading cause of severe firearm injuries among children age 14 and younger in the state that led to significant hospitalization. That's according to data from the Ohio Trauma Acute Care Registry.
Child advocates say that parents sometimes underestimate the ability of children to get access to and operate weapons. Some are pushing for a "safe storage" law in Ohio, requiring owners to lock up their firearms or make sure they are inoperable if there is a reasonable chance minors could get to them.
"We can stop this, we just need responsible gun owners to store their guns properly if they know a child can access it," said Renuka Mayadev, executive director of the Children's Defense Fund-Ohio.
Gun-rights groups said educating and training children on gun safety is the best way to prevent the accidental shootings.
"We should be teaching them 'if you find a gun, stop, don't touch, leave the area, tell an adult,' " said Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association. "The only way to guarantee safety is to educate them."
The statistics show 159 children 14 and under were severely injured by accidental shootings in 2007-2012. Severe injuries are defined as causing death or hospitalization for at least 48 hours.
"We need there to be mandatory safe storage in Ohio," said Mayadev, who backs legislation introduced in the Ohio House by Rep. Bill Patmon, D-Cleveland.
"Safe storage is important, but a law telling me what is safe is impossible to craft because I don't know what your house is like or what my house will be like a year from now," Irvine said.