The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported the stunning news this week:
A 2-year-old Milwaukee boy found his father’s handgun and accidentally shot himself with it, police said Wednesday.
The toddler is expected to survive, and his father was arrested after police say he left the gun in an accessible location in the house.
The shooting occurred about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 3400 block of N. 36th St., and prosecutors are expected to review the case later this week.
Wisconsin’s misdemeanor law for these types of shootings applies under specific circumstances: if an adult recklessly stores or leaves a loaded firearm within reach or easy access of a child; if the child obtains the firearm without permission of the owner, guardian or caretaker; and if the child fires the gun and causes bodily harm or death.
“We don’t prosecute very many of them, probably two a year or so, and we don’t have many referred to us,” said Milwaukee County Chief Deputy District Attorney Kent Lovern.
“We certainly have seen this here, but many times, the circumstances are such that the parent should not be held liable,” Lovern said Wednesday. “It’s just a tragic set of circumstances.”
Even before this week’s accidental shooting in Milwaukee the Associated Press was conducting a detailed investigation into these types of incidents going on all across America.
Here’s the issue in a nutshell:
Children under age 12 die from gun accidents in the United States about once a week, on average. Almost every death begins with the same basic circumstances: an unsecured and loaded gun, a guardian’s lapse in attention. And each ends with the same basic questions: Who is to blame, and should the person be punished?
An investigation by the USA TODAY Network and The Associated Press found those questions are answered haphazardly across the nation.
Read the entire report here.