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Unintentional Shootings and Kids

Tennessee has a serious problem with children gaining access to unsecured guns and unintentionally shooting themselves or someone else with them. Despite the number of kids who are injured and killed in these completely preventable tragedies year after year, Tennessee lawmakers have continually refused to back any child access prevention or safe storage legislation.

YEAR

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

2023 (TO DATE)

TOTAL (2015-PRESENT

INCIDENTS

14

13

26

12

23

13

16

20

17

153

DEATHS

4

5

10

4

7

9

11

9

5

64

INJURIES

11

8

16

8

16

4

6

8

14

91

Guns are the leading cause of death for Tennessee children. While most of these deaths are homicides or suicides, an unconscionable number are the result of an irresponsible adult gun owner's decision to leave their weapon unsecured and accessible.

 

According to news reports, As of mid-August in 2023, there have already been 17 unintentional shootings in Tennessee involving a minor child pulling a trigger. Only three other states (Texas, 20; Indiana, 19; and Ohio, 18) have had more. For more information on these shootings, view the #NotAnAccident data tracker. 

The 2023 unintentional shootings involving Tennessee kids are listed below.

February 11 - Chattanooga
1 child injured

A 2-year-old boy unintentionally shot and wounded his 13-year-old brother in a home. It is not yet known who the firearm belongs to or how the boy gained access to it.
https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2023/feb/12/chattanooga-13-year-old-shot-by-2-year-old/

 

February 26 - Nashville
1 child dead

A 4-year-old child unintentionally shot and killed themself in a home. It is not yet known who the firearm belongs to or how the child gained access to it.

https://www.wkrn.com/news/local-news/nashville/child-killed-in-accidental-self-inflicted-shooting/

 

March 2 - Memphis

1 child injured

A 2-year-old boy unintentionally shot and wounded himself in a home. A 22-year-old man had left the loaded firearm unsecured between couch cushions, where the child was able to gain access to it. The man was charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect.

https://wreg.com/news/local/man-charged-after-toddler-shoots-himself/

 

March 24 - Chattanooga

1 child injured
A 12-year-old boy unintentionally shot and wounded himself with an unsecured, loaded gun he found in his family's car, which was parked in a shopping plaza where his mother was shopping. It is not yet clear who the gun belongs to.
https://www.wdef.com/boy-injured-after-shooting-himself/

 

March 27 - Memphis

1 child injured

A child unintentionally shot off one of his fingers in a home. The boy's 32-year-old father had left a loaded, stolen handgun unsecured in the top drawer of his bedroom dresser. He was arrested on charges including child abuse and neglect, unlawful possession of a weapon, and theft of property.
https://www.actionnews5.com/2023/03/28/scso-child-shoots-off-finger-with-fathers-stolen-gun/

 

April 13 - East Ridge

1 child injured
A 16-year-old boy unintentionally shot and wounded himself with a handgun in a home. It is not yet clear who the gun belongs to or how the boy gained access to it.
https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2023/apr/14/16-year-old-accidentally-shot-self-tfp/

 

April 28 - Knoxville

1 adult injured
A 14-year-old boy unintentionally shot and wounded his teacher at school. The loaded gun was in his backpack, and discharged as he was rummaging through his bag. He was charged with reckless endangerment, assault, and weapons possession. It is not yet clear who the gun belongs to or how the boy gained access to it.
https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/3979555-teenager-faces-charges-after-gun-discharges-in-tennessee-classroom-grazing-teacher/

 

May 14 - Memphis

1 child dead

A 7-year-old boy unintentionally shot and killed his sister, a 9-year-old girl, in a car. The boy found the loaded, unsecured handgun in the glove box of a car, and he and his sister were playing with it when it discharged. The gun and the car belong to a 52-year-old friend of the family, who has been charged with criminally negligent homicide, being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun, and aggravated child abuse.

https://www.newsweek.com/boy-shot-sister-gun-car-memphis-traumatized-1800662

 

May 17 - Memphis

1 child injured
A child unintentionally shot and wounded his 5-year-old brother in a home. They had found the gun at a park near their home. They brought the gun home and were playing with it when it discharged. It is not yet clear who the gun belongs to.
https://wreg.com/news/local/5-year-old-was-shot-by-brother-with-gun-they-found-in-park/

 

June 3rd - Collierville
1 child dead

A 3-year-old located a gun inside a vehicle and accidentally shot himself in the head. Police say family members were also in the vehicle during the incident. The family was parked outside a Harbor Freight store at the time. The child was taken to LeBonheur Hospital in critical condition where he later died. No charges have been filed.
https://wreg.com/news/local/3-year-old-dies-after-shooting-himself-in-collierville/

 

June 7 - Ashland City

1 child injured
An 8-year-old boy unintentionally shot and wounded a 17-year-old boy in a car outside a residence. It is not yet clear who the gun belongs to or how the boy gained access to it.
https://www.wsmv.com/2023/06/08/8-year-old-accidentally-shoots-teenager-ashland-city/

 

June 13 - Memphis

1 child injured
An 11-year-old boy unintentionally shot and wounded himself in a home. His 30-year-old father, who was prohibited from possessing guns, had left a loaded handgun unsecured on top of a fish tank in the den while he took a nap. He was charged with aggravated child abuse/neglect, being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun, and tampering with evidence.

https://wreg.com/news/local/mpd-man-throws-gun-in-river-after-11-year-old-son-accidentally-shoots-himself/

 

June 15 - Nashville

1 child injured
A 15-year-old boy unintentionally shot and wounded a 13-year-old boy outside an apartment complex. He was handling a loaded rifle when it discharged. The 15-year-old was charged with felony reckless endangerment, and his 16-year-old brother was charged with felony evidence tampering for hiding the gun.

https://fox17.com/news/local/teen-brothers-charged-in-south-nashville-shooting-that-injured-13-year-old-boy

 

June 28 - Knoxville

1 child injured
A 14-year-old boy unintentionally shot and wounded a 10-year-old boy at a community center. The loaded handgun was inside the 14-year-old's backpack, and discharged as a summer camp program for children was taking place. It is not yet clear who the gun belongs to or how the teenager gained access to it. Two handguns were recovered from the shooter's backpack. He has been charged in juvenile court with reckless endangerment and unlawful possession of a gun.
https://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/crime/2023/06/28/boy-hurt-accidental-shooting-at-knoxville-ywca/70364626007/

 

June 29 - Nashville

1 child dead

A 12-year-old girl unintentionally shot and killed herself in a home. She was with a group of children, including a 15-year-old boy who had gained access to a loaded handgun and brought it to the home. It is not yet clear who the gun belongs to or how the boy gained access to it. He has been charged with unlawful gun possession and evidence tampering.
https://www.wsmv.com/2023/06/30/12-year-old-girl-dies-after-accidental-shooting-nashville-police-say/

July 30 - Nashville
1 child dead

Metro Nashville police say the 14-year-old stepbrother of a 10-year-old boy shot him in the head with a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol while handling it, killing the younger child. The 14-year-old reportedly found the gun at the top of a closet in a room upstairs when he, his 12-year-old brother and the 10-year-old went to play video games. The parents were not home at the time of the shooting, according to police. They were running an errand with two other children.
https://fox17.com/news/local/child-in-nashville-accidentally-shot

August 16 - Nashville

1 child injured
A 2-year-old suffered life-threatening gunshot wounds after an incident that happened on the 3200 block of Mayer Lane. Officers said the child was home with her father with the incident took place. Though police did not list a precise cause, they did emphasize the importance of securing all firearms in the home when children are present.
https://www.newschannel5.com/news/nashville-police-responding-to-2-year-old-shot-in-bordeaux-community

September 8 - Harriman

1 child injured

Police report that a mother was at home with her 8-year-old child and a sibling. The mother said she was with the sibling in the living room and heard a "pop" sound coming from the kitchen. It was later discovered the child was shot with what turned out to be a 9mm handgun. The father was at work at the time. From what deputies were told, they believe the father placed or kept the loaded handgun in a holster on top of the refrigerator in the kitchen. The mother said that the child used a chair to climb up on the countertops in the kitchen. This time he apparently reached on top of the refrigerator to get the gun and somehow shot himself one time in the upper chest area. The Morgan County Sheriff also reported that DCS had been to the house several times regarding the child and that DCS was immediately notified following the incident. 

https://www.wbir.com/article/news/crime/accidental-shooting-morgan-county-child/51-f0ef2471-cfd2-44ef-b542-6a8390d571d0?ref=exit-recirc

October 27 - Millington
0 dead - 1 child injured

Sheriff’s deputies responded to a shooting call involving a child who had shot himself with an unsecured gun. Upon the arrival of deputies, the 2-year-old child was reportedly alert and breathing but transported to Le Bonheur in critical condition by the Shelby County Fire Department. Reports say he is now in non-critical condition.
https://wreg.com/news/local/2-year-old-accidently-shoots-himself/

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