The death of an 8-year-old boy in Ecru from an accidental shooting again has underscored the importance of handling and storing guns safely.
While straightening up a bed, the boy found a loaded pistol under a mattress at his grandfather’s house. The gun went off, the bullet hit the boy in the head and a needless death was the result.
This is not a criticism of the family; the family certainly has suffered enough. But it is a reminder to all of us that we have a lot of guns in Mississippi and that creates a potential for accidental gun deaths that is higher than in some other states.
A recent story in the Gazette showed that Mississippi is tied with Alaska for third in the nation for the number of gun deaths per 100,000 population. Only our neighboring states, Louisiana and Alabama, have higher numbers.
These aren’t some trumped up numbers from an anti-gun group. They’re from a study by the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
Here in Union County, Sheriff Tommy Wilhite says a majority of the gun deaths in the county are suicides. Those certainly are hard to prevent, at least if they are suicides by the owners of the guns.
It’s the others that concern us. The sheriff’s department and the city police only can do so much to promote gun safety, including providing gun locks and safety information.
Both Wilhite and New Albany Chief David Grisham stress locking up guns, storing them properly (unloaded), and keeping them out of the reach of children.
This country is not the Wild West anymore. We need to take gun safety, especially proper handling and storage, with the same amount of fervor as we take gun ownership.