There have been more shootings than days in 2023

More than 110 Americans die from gunshots each day. Not even a week into 2023, a six-year-old tried to add to that number.
The 6-year-old Virginia boy shot his teacher with a handgun at Richneck Elementary School. The teacher claims this was no accident, as police said that there was an “altercation” before the shooting. This altercation resulted in the child pulling the gun out from his backpack, pointing it at the teacher, and firing one round. The teacher put her hand up in defense when the gun was fired, which caused the bullet to go through her hand and into her upper chest.
After being shot, first-grade teacher Abby Zwerner still managed to let all of the students out of her classroom and made sure they were safe before proceeding to the office to call 911. She suffered life-threatening injuries, but was recently released after being hospitalized for about two weeks. Her response to the situation shows how faithful and caring she is for her students.
The child is currently in custody with the police until they figure out how to prosecute a crime that was committed by a first grader. The gun was purchased legally by his mother, which the boy brought to school in his backpack. Since the child is so young, punishments are hard to apply.
This brings up many types of questions that would need to be discussed. Should they punish the parents? Are these types of situations preventable? If so, how would you prevent this? How do you prevent children getting ahold of firearms, so this doesn’t become a bigger and more common problem years to come?
Millions of children live in households with guns, which, if not properly locked away, makes it very easy for bad things to happen. Firearm deaths are now the leading cause of death for children and teens in the United States. Nationwide Children’s Hospital page on firearm safety states that 1,300 children die from guns, among other facts about children and guns.
While owning a gun is legal, it’s extremely important to keep it away from children, who know little to nothing about guns and their impact, or it will lead to incidents such as these. These statistics are a very terrifying reality. The ignorance and curiosity of children make them very capable of finding these firearms around the house, and also capable of pulling the trigger.
Children who have access to guns are in more danger to die or be harmed by firearms. This also puts other children in danger. Education Week reported “There were 51 school shootings in 2022 that resulted in injuries or death, the most in a single year since Education Week began tracking such incidents in 2018.”
One of the most recent intentional shootings involving a child holding a firearm was Dec. 2, 2022, where a 10-year-old boy allegedly shot and killed his mom because she refused to buy him a virtual reality headset. Another incident was Dec. 3, where a 5-year-old boy is in critical condition after being shot by his 8-year-old family friend.
These are just some of the many examples about how children can get a hold of unsecure firearms, which leads to misuse, ultimately causing injuries and death. Due to how young these children are, police and judges have to make the decision whether to have the child face the consequences or to hold the parents/family life responsible.
What can be done on this issue? Gun owners need to enact reasonable safety precautions and be held responsible for unsecured firearms. Conversations should happen around gun safety and responsible gun ownership with children, and should contain explicit instructions for what to do if your child encounters an unsecured firearm. Young children are not reliably able to distinguish between fake and real firearms.
Firearms and ammunition should be locked, stored separately, and kept away from children. “In 2022 there were at least 205 unintentional shootings by children, resulting in 89 deaths and 127 injuries nationally.”
We as a society need to help put a stop to the preventable dangers of guns: keeping children from happening onto firearms and unintentionally causing harm. Be a part of the solution.