LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Wednesday marks the official start of summer, but it’s also an important day for gun safety education.
National ASK Day challenges parents to discuss gun safety with their kids and to make sure guns are locked away at homes they might visit.
According to Everytown research, 167 children have been injured in accidental shootings this year, and 60 died. There have been three in Louisville.
Since the end of April, 16 kids have been taken here to Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville with gun injuries, most of which have been accidental.
These are tragic mistakes physicians say can possibly be avoided with education and asking the right questions.
“Prevention is so much more important than a cure, and this is incredibly important as far as firearm injuries go,” Dr. Brit Anderson said.
In her 9 years in Norton’s pediatric emergency department, Anderson said she’s seen the number of young gunshot victims increase.
“Children are really curious, and it just takes a moment,” Anderson said. “Every parent knows that all it takes is turning your back for one second and your child is into something that you would never have meant to.”
On Monday, a 7-year-old fatally shot a 5-year-old in Eastern Kentucky. State police said it was an accident and that no foul play is suspected.
Heartbreaking events like these are why Anderson and pediatricians across the country acknowledge National ASK Day on the first day of summer. The day encourages parents to talk to their kids about gun safety and to have conversations with those who may look over them.
“In the summertime, a lot of folks are out visiting friends, maybe babysitting in other homes,” Anderson said. “Bringing up the conversation, which can be a little bit tricky, but again, can save lives.”
Anderson says parents and guardians should ask other adults looking after their children how they store their guns.
She said bringing up the topic in the realm of child safety, similar to discussing a child’s allergies, can help you ease into the conversation.
In an interview with WHAS11, Golem Security CEO David Goad said he wants to help end these senseless shootings by providing free gun locks to owners in need – just like he did last year in Louisville.
“I want to make sure that cost wasn’t a preventative measure from keeping a firearm safe,” Goad said.
Currently, Kentucky doesn’t have any laws that penalize parents for not safely securing their guns. But the state prohibits someone from “intentionally, knowing, or recklessly” providing a gun to a minor unless the minor has legal permission to possess a gun.
According to Nationwide Children’s, while some parents believe hiding their guns will stop children from getting ahold of guns about 75% of children still know where they are kept.
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