A two-year-old Port Barre child is recovering after shooting himself in the leg after finding his dad’s gun in his truck.
It’s one of three cases in Louisiana over the weekend where children shot themselves with unattended guns. One of those cases, in Oakdale, was fatal. Police and gun experts say those shootings were all preventable.
"A child will see a firearm and to them, it’s a toy. We have adults understand that is not a toy and there’s a huge responsibility as a gun owner that we should always keep our firearms completely safe and out of the way of children," says Chief Deon Boudreaux of Port Barre Police Department.
Boudreaux says he’s grappling with whether to charge the father of the two-year-old who shot himself Saturday. He believes the shooting was an accident and the father had no intention of putting his child in harm’s way.
"We’re going to step back a couple of days and really review our state statutes to see whether or not a charge should be filed against this father. I know he’s probably devastated that his negligence caused his son to get hurt," says Chief Boudreaux.
Firearm experts tell us a few simple steps can prevent accidents like this from happening.
"Education and knowledge is at the forefront of that. Whenever it comes to hiding a firearm from a kid, curiosity will get the best of them. Its always best to acknowledge the fact that there is a firearm present, so knowledge of the firearm and the use of that firearm for the kid is definitely beneficial for both parties. In the event that the kid’s not old enough to understand, it needs to be in a remote accessed area that is not accessible to that child," says Blake Boudreaux, the manager at Lafayette Shooters.
Gun owners who want quick access to their firearms in case of emergency can take advantage of safety technology on the market. Parents with guns can also take precaution by looking at resources like http://www.projectchildsafe.org/