USA Today’s Four-Point Plan to Stop Negligent Discharges That Kill Kids

"Holston Cole, 3, shot himself with a semiautomatic pistol found in his father’s backpack, according to investigators." (text and photo courtesy nytimes.com)

usatoday.com starts their editorial When kids fire guns: Our view by excoriating irresponsible gun owners. “You’d think gun owners would understand that kids are surprisingly good at finding guns that aren’t kept secured and unloaded,” they opine, “yet the toll goes on, year after year. Maybe gun buyers should be required to listen to the heartbreaking 911 call from the father of the 3-year-old in Georgia, who can be heard pleading with his son to ‘stay with me’  before the boy died.” What to do? they ask. You know, other than leaving personal responsibility to people. The Eds have a four-point plan . . .

Begin by aggressively stigmatizing carelessness with guns in homes with children (or homes where kids visit), much the way drunken driving changed from something joked about to something socially unacceptable.

Even though many gun rights advocates hate the idea, doctors could help by routinely asking patients whether they have guns and whether they secure them.

Parents would also do well to ask other parents those same questions before their kids have play dates. There’s a growing movement to do this, helped by a public service announcement that shows children playing at a home with sex toys that they’ve found (the message: “If they find it, they’ll play with it”).

And gun buyers should have the option to buy “smart guns” that fire only when an owner activates them, typically with a fingerprint or an electronic device. Gun rights advocates are fighting to keep smart guns from being sold because of fears that the technology will become mandatory.

Of course, there’s no sure way to eradicate the adult stupidity and negligence that keeps putting guns where kids can find them. But each of these strategies can help. It’s time to try them all.

Because the Second Amendment doesn’t mean what it says it means. And you can fix stupid. At least in their minds.

comments

  1. avatar RealityCheck says:

    Having doctors ask people? What? I mean, seriously, what? What does the doctor have to do with it?

    Here’s a much more practical solution – why not just have the police go door to door, asking people if they have guns in the home, and if so, are they properly secured? Wouldn’t that be a much more appropriate, and easy to palate solution? The police are our friends, after all. They are only there to help. And who could object to a visit from the police?
    [/sarc]

    1. avatar Red in CO says:

      As long as the police only visit the homes of white people, because for them to visit the homes of minorities would be racial profiling.
      /sarc

    2. avatar Anonymous says:

      What does the doctor have to do with it?

      I didn’t know liberals cared about kids or babies for that matter. With all the abortions of perfectly normal babies being executed in the womb. It’s ok for a doctor to stab them in the brain with a pick but it’s not ok for them to accidentally shoot themselves with loaded guns laying around?

      I just don’t get it. If liberals are going to be irresponsible why is one ok but not the other?

      Furthermore, this is a family matter. Complete family matter. I’m more worried about my stairs than guns. My kids traverse the stairs several times a day and they are only 4 and 2 yrs old. Having fell down them myself – it is certainly a definite risk. Everyday I hold their hand and force them to climb up them and go down them while holding the arm rail to teach them and have them practice in hopes they don’t fall. I have some baby gates, but both my children have learned to circumvent them with a chair. Also, I have sharp objects and household chemicals that I must protect them from. All of which is my responsibility. I don’t see guns as anything special or more important than those other risks I have mentioned above. Especially considering drowning, falling, poisoning, vehicular traffic, fire and burns, etc. are orders of magnitude greater than those with firearms.

      http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/leadingcauses.html

      1. avatar Robert Duchien says:

        There are 10,000 late term abortions in the US every year.
        Those are fetuses that have both a brain wave and a heartbeat.
        Liberals DO NOT really care about children.

  2. avatar Red in CO says:

    How about this: Teach your kids about guns as early as possible. Boom. problem solved. Or, actually, uh… not boom, I guess….

  3. avatar Dev says:

    How about the negligent driving that is killing tens of thousands of people each year? So far in 2016 the number of people murdered is about the same as the number of motorcyclists killed alone, most of those deaths due to careless auto drivers. Why is there no movement to have doctors ask drivers about their habits??

    1. avatar Binder says:

      BS. If motorcyclist drove like cars there would be a much lower incidence of death and injury. They accelerate harder, brake harder, speed a lot more and are typically a lot less defensive when they ride. I know and I hear it all the time where someone pulls out in front of them or something, but that happens to all people on the road.

    2. avatar Oblamo binLyen says:

      I’d be thrilled if my Dr. actually asked me why the H I came in. It’s none of their business if I have firearms, because they’ll just make a record of it and I’d prefer to keep it very private.

      1. avatar Big Jim says:

        I have a concealed weapons permit here in Florida.And I do carry every day. And I have carried To my doctor’s appointments and yes I do have a couple Of liberal lefties as doctors.However, They are well aware of the law in the State of Florida that prevents them from asking any questions or taking any notes or any specific record Of the fact that I am a concealed weapons permit carrier. End of story It’s how all the state should be. That is your private information and it’s no one’s business but your own.

  4. avatar Big Jim says:

    Golly, I thought this was 4 speaking points On how to make Sure your children don’t Accidentally discharge your personal firearms. This seems to be a complete anti-gun propaganda Tactic.

  5. avatar Cloud_1911 says:

    At the age where they can figure out how to get to the top shelf of the closet, they are also smart enough to learn how a gun works and how not to treat it disrespectfully.

    The problem is with education mostly. I got a BB gun when I was 7 and by then knew not to look down the barrel or point it at people. That knowledge alone could prevent most accidents with real firearms.

    If only the left would be consistent in their call for education, and have an NRA instructor talk to the seven years olds in between the lectures on condoms and how to get an abortion.

  6. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

    As if there is a surplus of doctors and they need more to do and more stressful conversations.

    1. avatar Kevin in CO says:

      The PA that did the interview before my last physical asked that question. I looked at her, and replied “I’m here for my yearly checkup and prostate exam. How likely is it you’re going to find a gun up there?”

      She blushed, closed the notebook computer, and excused herself, saying the doctor would be in shortly.

  7. avatar TyrannyOfEvilMen says:

    According to the CDC, the number of actual children killed by negligent discharges each year is around 120 on average.

    More children are killed each year by drunk drivers. And swimming pools. And house fires. And poisons under you sink.

    So obviously, gun control is not about the children at all.

    1. avatar Big Jim says:

      I agree with you a hundred and 10%. Gun control is nothing more than people control. It makes no sense What so ever and it’s been proven not to work. The government is using it just to get more control over the populace and take away Are constitutionally protected rights.God help us if Hillary is elected and doesn’t go to prison like she should.

    2. avatar Chip Bennett says:

      IIRC, counting only children – ie those under 14 – the number is even lower than that.

      I just checked: 69 in 2013

      http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr64/nvsr64_02.pdf

      1. avatar Anonymous says:

        More die accidentally drowning in buckets/baths/toilets than by firearms:

        http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/mobileart.asp?articlekey=20577

        Toilet violence

  8. avatar Jim says:

    I quit going to the military base clinic a few yrs ago as they started asking questions. Nothing about guns but stuff like do you feel like hurting others? Yourself? But a wrong answer on a bad day or a joking response as I am a teacher who really doesn’t like teenagers and Bam! On the prohibited list. Before you ask, the pay us really good where I am at.

  9. avatar Ralph says:

    Now that USA Today has solved the problem of the 62 children that are accidentally shot per year (per CDC), they should turn their collective genius to solving the very minor, almost nonexistent problem of the 400,000 medical homicides per year.

    And then they can get to work on that world peace thing.

    1. avatar Dennis in SC says:

      I was under the impression that all the beauty contestants had world peace under control?

  10. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    How about pediatricians remind parents to take measures to protect their children from all major sources of danger rather than focusing exclusively on firearms.

    Major sources of danger for children:
    — stairs
    — chemicals
    — poisons/medicines
    — matches/fire
    — plastic bags
    — cords, rope, and string (especially on blinds)
    — pools
    — sharp objects
    — electrical hazzards
    — firearms
    — ladders
    — roads
    — power tools
    — disease
    — compressed/pressurized gases

    And also remind about less obvious hazards:
    — Children climb things; make sure china cabinets and the like cannot fall over on top of a child who climbs on it.
    — Toddlers like to look into things like buckets of water. Because they have poor balance and their heads are heavy compared to their bodies, they can fall into a bucket and drown.
    — Venomous insects, arachnids, and reptiles are everywhere and you have to protect your children from them.
    — Animal predators are everywhere and you have to protect your children from them. (There are even accounts of coyotes snatching children and trying to drag them away with mom or dad a mere 50 feet away and around a corner of a home.)
    — Of course there are human predators everywhere and you have to protect your children from them.
    — Electrical appliances that are plugged into a wall. When my child was 6 years old, she knocked over a lamp and never bothered to pick it up. The incandescent light bulb laid in contact with the carpet and nearly set it on fire.

  11. avatar Geoff PR says:

    “Begin by aggressively stigmatizing carelessness with guns in homes with children (or homes where kids visit), much the way drunken driving changed from something joked about to something socially unacceptable.”

    Now *that’s* rich, coming from someone who’s profession (*cough*, journalism) epitomizes the image of hard drinking…

    And kills thousands yearly.

  12. avatar Docduracoat says:

    Doctors have no training or expertise in proper firearm storage.

    Even the docs who are gun enthusiasts.
    Medscape did an interesting article on doctors and guns and the concensus of all the commenters was that if a patient asked about gun storage, refer them to an NRA certified instructor
    To uncommon sense, a lot of the doctors commented on all the other objects you mentioned that kill far more children
    Warnings about ladders would save more children

  13. avatar Savaze says:

    Why do people who know nothing about a subject think they’re experts on how to fix it?! As far as kids handling guns that cause negligent discharges that result in death the problem could be minimalized with proper exposure and education.

    1. avatar Kevin in CO says:

      “Why do people who know nothing about a subject think they’re experts on how to fix it?!”

      A liberal (not a lefty, a classic liberal) friend posted some Everytown tripe on Facebook. I replied to his post, asking “Hey, what are the Three Laws?” He admitted he had to Google it. I asked why he was taking “gun safety” advice from a group that didn’t know the Three Laws, and offered to take him to the range or to a gun show. Told him he may not change his mind, but he’d definitely finish the day knowing something he didn’t know at the beginning. He’s a highly intelligent guy, his IQ is likely above 140, so I appealed to his intelligence and curiosity.

  14. avatar Ken says:

    My doctor has never asked me anything about guns. However, she lives just above me and I’m sure she has heard/seen me shooting many times at my house as she drives by and she lives close enough to hear my shots.

  15. avatar tdiinva (now in Wisconsin} says:

    Perhaps swimming pool owners should be forced to listen to a 911 call to the EMTs to come and save there child that they pulled out of the back yard pool. Swimming pools kill far more children than NDs.

  16. avatar Chip Bennett says:

    …yet the toll goes on, year after year…

    Year after year, to the tune of accidental deaths in the low double digits, in a society with 100 million gun owners, and 300 million guns.

    Also, I think doctors should concern themselves first and foremost with the accidental deaths caused by the medical services industry – deaths that far outnumber, by orders of magnitude, accidental firearm-related deaths.

  17. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Gun rights advocates are fighting to keep smart guns from being sold because of fears that the technology will become mandatory.
    With some justification by the gun rights advocates.

    1. avatar James says:

      If these liberal editorial dip$#!ts could be intellectually honest, they’d know that the fear it will be mandatory has been realized. Two words, New Jersey.

      If the USA Today pud whacks what to see “smart guns” brought to market, they better start castigating their own favorite politicians and political party and not gun rights supporters.

      No wonder the media is do distrusted and hated.

    2. avatar Cliff H says:

      “…gun buyers should have the option to buy “smart guns” that fire only when an owner activates them…”

      Here’s an interesting idea – a “Smart technology” device that can be quickly attached or detached to your pistol (detached only by the person with the activating device), but does not interfere with its normal operation if activated. Any pistol left anywhere in the home, secured or not, could have the device attached and be safe from negligent or accidental discharge by anyone, not just a child, that picks it up.

      Any thoughts on this concept? It just came to me in a flash and I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking out potential problems.

      Another thing just occurred to me – I don’t recall ever seeing a “Smart technology” solution for revolvers.

      1. avatar Oblamo binLyen says:

        I’m still waiting for smart technology for people that do stupid things. Like vote for anti-firearm politicians.

  18. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Even though many gun rights advocates hate the idea, doctors could help by routinely asking patients whether they have guns and whether they secure them.
    Especially if said doctors could determine whether the state should take away their patients guns.

  19. avatar Terry in Oregon says:

    “Gun rights advocates are fighting to keep smart guns from being sold because of fears that the technology will become mandatory.”

    Its not a fear its a reality when New Jersey already has a law on the books to force mandatory adoption upon market availability. No wonder gun companies don’t want to touch this. If California didn’t already have the micro stamping law for handguns on the books I’d half expect them to shove this on their subjects as well.

  20. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    “yet the toll goes on, year after year.
    Especially when we throw the teeny booper gang bangers into the statistics.

  21. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Begin by aggressively stigmatizing people with guns in homes.

  22. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Of course, there’s no sure way to eradicate the adult stupidity and negligence that keeps putting USA Today where people can find them.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      “…no sure way to eradicate the adult stupidity and negligence…”

      Ah but there is – it’s called the Darwin awards. Mother nature is a bitch.

  23. avatar Robert Duchien says:

    Many times, the parents are even charged because “They have suffered enough”.
    Lock them up, not for life but for a year or two. Same with anyone who accidentally shoots someone, like Dick Cheney and the fellow in the Remington 700 lawsuit. No exceptions unless it was a defensive gun use.

    For educating gun owners, add a paragraph to the 4473 about keeping guns away from children that must be initialed.

  24. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

    Ok, the first one has been going on for years, if not decades. Where the heck have they been?
    Next, have doctors ask blah, blah, blah….. Why? To what end? By what magic spell is the simple act of a doctor asking about guns going to stop such accidental deaths?
    Then, asking parents about their gun storage practices before your child goes visit isn’t such a bad idea, coupled with educating your child for those cases that you don’t anticipate.
    Finally, “smart gun” technology should be available for those that want it…. it just shouldn’t be required for those that don’t want it. But that’s not what they’re after, is it?

  25. avatar Ralph says:

    By the way, what are “Negligent Dishcarges?” Do they involve accidentally dropping dinner plates from one’s vehicle?

  26. avatar CalGunsMD says:

    These idiots don’t know what they’re talking about when they say doctors should talk to patients about guns.
    This is a case in point example of what a useful idiot is.
    The whole push to have doctors talk to patients about guns is not about safety or accident or Suicide Prevention it’s about pushing disarmament.

  27. avatar Hannibal says:

    If you really want to spend government money on the issue, give rebates for gun safes.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      I’m not sure how common it is, but I seem to recall that in Washington sate there was no sales tax charged on gun safes. Like an automatic 8-9% discount on the purchase.

  28. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    Given the number of deaths due to medical misadventure in the US annually, MD’s should clean up their own act first before they try to lecture anyone else about anything.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Some people call it “medical misadventure.” I call it medical homicide. I believe my phrase is more accurate.

      1. avatar Kevin in CO says:

        Homicide is what the coroner calls it when a death is caused by another human. Works for me.

  29. avatar Ryan S. says:

    Lots of posts and no one opined that discharges is spelled incorrectly as dishcarges? Wake up interwebz peepolz. . .

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      They wouldn’t be opining, as it’s not a matter of opinion. They’d be stating, or commenting. In any case, it’s fixed. Return to your baseline levels of outrage.

      1. avatar Ryan S. says:

        You’re 100% correct, a typo is a typo, no opinion needed, just mock outrage. 🙂

  30. avatar Nanashi says:

    Remember: Whenever someone tries to talk about kids killing themselves by accident bring up that FAR more die in private pools and there is no right to a private pool.

  31. avatar Big Jim says:

    It’s against the law in the state of Florida For a doctor to ask you anything about owning a firearm Or using one And a lawful manner End of freakin story! And when you’re talking about young children And teenagers children drowning in pools forget about it Florida blows everyone out of the water without one no pun intended. We’re surrounded by ocean on all three sides Hundreds and thousands of lakes and creeks and streams and springs not to mention the millions and millions of pools During the summer there’s probably an average of one kid a week that dies in a swimming pool from accidental drowning They’ve got a lot of Cojones To pick on such a small number of deaths due to Firearms it’s ridiculous.

  32. avatar the ruester says:

    You guys really can’t see this monster for what it is. They believe, with the appeal to authority and misguided vigor of global warming believers, that they have proven a “causal inference” between legal gun ownership and criminal homicide. Such “causal inference” has been used to strong arm public opinion in the past. You might think of smoking or drunk driving, but it reminds me most of the “low fat diet” food pyramid; so sure were they that dietary fat was the main contributor to heart disease, they told us to eat different than any healthy human in history. The result was more heart disease and the added nightmare of the diabetes epidemic. THAT is the hell you tell these smug statists to visit when they push this asinine theory on you.

    1. avatar Mister Fleas says:

      +100

  33. avatar Jim Bullock says:

    What a bunch of idiots. Somebody from the gun advocacy orgs needs to get on one of the stories about the story with this:

    Begin by aggressively stigmatizing carelessness with guns…

    Gun advocates do that. Gun organizations offer safety training. Everybody knows the 4 rules of gun safety. Whack-job, crazies leaving guns around, randomly pointing them at things, or even god forbid firing them stupidly is a caricature. This is why millions of citizens, responsibly use millions of guns, millions of times a day, don’t hurt anybody.

    “Even though many gun rights advocates hate the idea, doctors could help by routinely asking patients whether they have guns and whether they secure them.”

    Drafting doctors to enforce their, or your idea of how people should manage their own affairs is offensive. The idea that it might help is that, an idea. There’s a pernicious notion embedded in here, that the doctor’s relationship with the patient is to be hijacked by public welfare advocates to implement their notions of what is better for other people.

    Parents would also do well to ask other parents those same questions before their kids have play dates.

    Many parents already do that. More often, among gun owners, they look to understand the safety practices and understanding in the homes they send their kids to.

    However, parents looking out for their kids we agree with. You telling parents, or trying to influence or mandate your opinion of what they they should do through the government is something different.

    “And gun buyers should have the option to buy “smart guns” that fire only when an owner activates them…”

    Gun buyers do have that option. Not enough of them want it, to make a market.

    They, and you are free to make that market, or develop the technology without a market, if you feel like the choice should be realized sooner.

    We’re for gun buyers having all the options they want in the guns the choose to buy … unlike gun control advocates.

    Of course, there’s no sure way to eradicate the adult stupidity and negligence…

    Including the stupidity and negligence of people who would impose their knee-jerk notions on other people, without thinking them through.

  34. avatar Bill says:

    Oh look, USA Today has a poll on the page, “What do you think of this editorial?”

  35. avatar Wright says:

    Sounds like some good fire starter.

  36. avatar Felix says:

    Because parents cant even be trusted to watch their own kids, and the (state run?) media telling you to let a (state licensed) medical worker ask do. This is dumb shtt

  37. avatar Kevin in CO says:

    “Begin by aggressively stigmatizing carelessness with guns in homes with children (or homes where kids visit), much the way drunken driving changed from something joked about to something socially unacceptable.”

    I have no problem with this suggestion, and in fact TTAG has a feature called “Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day.” Let’s work with our opponents on what we agree on: Irresponsible storage is socially unnacceptable.

    If you carry a gun, carry it! If you’re not carrying it, secure it!

  38. avatar NA says:

    I guess that prior to letting my kids play with theirs I should ask if they have any coat hangers in the house. Or have murdered any babies.

  39. avatar Ray says:

    ” “smart guns” that fire only when an owner activates them, typically with a fingerprint or an electronic device.”
    I thought ‘smart guns’ typically don’t exist.
    Just another part of the lovely fantasy of eliminating personal responsibility.

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