Accidental shooting sparks gun safety reminders

It took a split second for one 6-year-old to accidentally shoot another 6-year-old.

LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – A shooting in Lowndes County over the weekend is raising the question of gun safety, especially around children.

Deputies responded to the call Sunday afternoon.

They report that the father of the victim laid his gun down on a counter.

That’s when his six-year-old nephew picked up the weapon and pulled the trigger, grazing another six-year-old in the head.

The child was taken to the hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Investigators have ruled the shooting accidental.

WCBI talked with the Lowndes County Sheriff and a firearms instructor about the importance of safe gun handling.

It took a split second for one six-year-old to accidentally shoot another 6-year-old.

Lowndes County Sheriff, Eddie Hawkins says the incident happened in a matter of moments after a 9mm handgun was left on a counter – in reach of a child.

“Parents need to know how to store firearms. To protect their children. Keep them under lock and key keep them away from children and never leave a firearm unattended when children are present. YOu know that’s an important issue that people don’t understand because this happened in a matter of seconds,” said Hawkins.

Fortunately, that child was okay, but Sheriff Hawkins said this could have been a completely different outcome.

When it comes to handling a gun there are a few things you should remember.

Never point a gun at anything you are not willing to shoot. Treat every weapon like it’s loaded.
Know your target and what’s beyond it and never put your finger on the trigger until you have decided to shoot.

Brian Jenkins is a Weapons Training Instructor for the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office.

He says gun safety should always be a top priority and if you happen to own a weapon it’s important to be comfortable when handling it.

“It’s just like any other tool you would use. For athletes, it’s like a baseball bat or anything like that so it’s just getting comfortable doing that. There are a lot of psychological things that go behind owning a weapon. some weapons are too big for your hand too small for your hand but if you own a weapon you need to learn how to use it,” said Jenkins.

As a parent, Jenkins said it’s crucial to educate children that a gun is not a toy.

“Don’t be afraid to show them the weapon and educate them on it and its uses and how to operate that weapon if ever needed or not to touch it. My kids know not to touch dad’s guns. If I have it on my hip or if I have it out they know it’s not a toy and it’s not to be played with or touched with,” said Jenkins.

Hawkins said during incidents like this if there happened to be a fatality, parents could be charged for leaving a firearm unattended.

The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office offers resources to help properly store guns.

Residents can go by the office to receive a free gunlock

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