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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 

2024

TOTAL (2015-PRESENT

INCIDENTS

14

13

26

12

23

13

16

20

21

7

165

DEATHS

4

5

10

4

7

9

11

9

6

5

70

INJURIES

11

8

16

8

16

4

6

8

15

2

94

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-November in 2023, there had 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 and 2024 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/

December 10 - Memphis

1 child dead - 0 injured
Officers responded to Methodist South where a child was brought in with a gunshot wound. The child’s parents advised police that he accidentally shot himself. He was pronounced dead at hospital. Police say the incident took place at a residence in the 4100 block of Bona Terra St. It is still unclear how the child had access to the weapon. MPD says at this time there are no charges against the parents but this shooting could have been avoided.
https://wreg.com/news/local/4-year-old-killed-in-self-inflicted-shooting/

 

December 11 - Maryville

0 dead - 1 child injured

Maryville Police officers charged a 16-year-old boy with felony reckless endangerment after he accidentally shot his 15-year-old brother during the night. Officers said he was playing with the gun when it went off. The 15-year-old was shot in the arm. He was treated at Blount Memorial Hospital and then at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. His brother was later arrested at a car accident in Loudon County.

December 10 - Memphis

1 child dead - 0 injured
Officers responded to Methodist South where a child was brought in with a gunshot wound. The child’s parents advised police that he accidentally shot himself. He was pronounced dead at hospital. Police say the incident took place at a residence in the 4100 block of Bona Terra St. It is still unclear how the child had access to the weapon. MPD says at this time there are no charges against the parents but this shooting could have been avoided.
https://wreg.com/news/local/4-year-old-killed-in-self-inflicted-shooting/

 

December 11 - Maryville

0 dead - 1 child injured

Maryville Police officers charged a 16-year-old boy with felony reckless endangerment after he accidentally shot his 15-year-old brother during the night. Officers said he was playing with the gun when it went off. The 15-year-old was shot in the arm. He was treated at Blount Memorial Hospital and then at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. His brother was later arrested at a car accident in Loudon County.

2024

January 2 - Rockwood

1 child dead - 0 injured

The Roane County Sheriff’s Office said that a 15-year-old died after he “accidentally” shot himself. The shooting took place in a Rockwood home. No other information has been released.

https://www.wate.com/news/roane-county-news/sheriffs-office-15-year-old-dead-following-accidental-shooting-in-rockwood

January 12 - Memphis

1 child dead - 0 injured

Officers responded to a shooting in the 1300 block of Walnut Hall Court near St. Francis Hospital and found a child had been shot. The boy was rushed to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in critical condition. He later died from his injuries, police said. MPD said four people were detained in connection to the shooting. The shooting is believed to have been self-inflicted and accidental.
https://www.fox13memphis.com/news/5-year-old-boy-dies-after-accidental-self-inflicted-gunshot-memphis-police-say/article_3e613d78-b14f-11ee-84c9-d783d682def6.html

January 14 - Dayton

1 child dead - 0 injured
Police responded to a 911 call regarding a gun discharging inside a house on Upper Fine Lane in Dayton and striking a 7-year-old child. The boy was taken to Rhea County Medical Center by his family and then transferred to Children's Hospital at Erlanger where he died.
https://www.local3news.com/local-news/rhea-county-sheriffs-department-investigating-after-child-dies-from-gunshot-wound/article_6a4186cc-b623-11ee-90fa-773f65bd1299.html

January 18 - Memphis

0 dead - 1 child injured
Memphis police were called to a home in the 1400 block of Reata Pass where they found a 2-year-old suffering from a gunshot wound. Police say preliminary information indicates this was an accidental shooting, but no further details were released. The toddler was transported to a local hospital in non-critical condition. It’s unclear at this time if any charges have been filed.
https://www.actionnews5.com/2024/01/19/2-year-old-injured-accidental-shooting-westwood/

March 23 - Nashville

1 child dead - 0 injured
Metro Nashville Police Department said a 13-year-old girl was shot inside her home on Edgehill Avenue. The child was taken to the hospital, where she died of a single gunshot wound. Police said the teen’s mother told detectives her unholstered .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol was inside her purse and accidentally fired while she was attempting to grab her keys. Charges have not been placed. The investigation is ongoing.
https://www.wsmv.com/2024/03/24/mother-claims-teen-daughter-was-accidentally-shot-killed-by-her-gun/

 

April 29 - Cheatham County

1 child dead - 0 injured

Police report that a 3-year-old boy was shot in the head on Hazel Drive in Cheatham County. The toddler later died. The shooting is believed to be accidental. The child’s mother was the only other person home at the time. It is not clear whether or not charges will be filed.
https://www.wsmv.com/2024/04/29/toddler-shot-head-cheatham-county-sheriff-says/

 

May 6 - Nashville

1 adult dead - 0 injured
According to police, a woman was shot and killed Sunday inside an apartment in the 900 block of 16th Avenue North. She was visiting the home of another woman who has two children. Preliminary reports indicate the victim may have been unintentionally shot by a 3-year-old child who gained access to a gun in the home. The incident remains under investigation.
https://www.newschannel5.com/news/woman-shot-and-killed-in-nashville-police-say-it-was-accidental

 

July 1 - Memphis

0 dead - 1 child injured

Officers responded to a shooting in the 800 Block of Pawnee Avenue.  According to police, the 14-year-old boy was taken to the hospital in non-critical condition.  One person was detained.  Memphis police said preliminary information indicated that the shooting was accidental. This is an ongoing investigation.
https://www.fox13memphis.com/news/14-year-old-boy-injured-after-shooting-in-westwood-police-say/article_aa772740-3802-11ef-942d-7fa9f2e836d7.html

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