Another day, another accidental gun death. Over the weekend, 12-year-old Joseph Baily was unintentionally shot and killed by his 11-year-old brother after three loaded guns were carelessly left unattended during a target shooting outing in Carrollton, Ohio.
According to Carroll County sheriff Dale Williams, the 11-year-old discovered the handguns lying on a picnic table and picked one up at around 5 pm on Friday. Shortly after, the young boy accidentally fired the gun, delivering a fatal shot into his older brother’s head. Williams explained, “It was an accident. It (shooter) was a juvenile. It was a brother. His brother was 11 years old. The 11-year-old picked up a weapon off of a picnic table. He accidentally shot it.”
Bailey, who was visiting Ohio with his family from South Carolina, died at the scene. Carroll County Coroner Mandal Haas said:
“They were actually target shooting. They were visiting a friend they knew here in Ohio. This was real ammunition. It was a head wound.”
Although the shooting was ruled an accident, authorities were debating whether or not the 11-year-old should be charged in his brother’s death. Williams said, “It’s accidental at this time, but we’re not done with the investigation. Everything will be finalized and the results will be sent to the (county) prosecutor.”
Charges may also be filed against the adult who failed to secure the weapon.
This tragic incident happened in the same weekend that another, more disturbing (and intentional) gun death involving a child took place. In this case, an 8-year-old girl was shot dead by her 11-year-old neighbor during an argument about a puppy. The shooter was able to access his father’s shotgun, and intentionally killed the young victim because of a small disagreement over the animal.
Intentional or accidental, loaded weapons do not belong anywhere within a child’s reach. Horrifying case after case proves that when guns get into the hands of kids, tragic things happen. The NRA continues to ignore this issue and instead of working for better gun regulation, continues to champion its own version of gun safety – “Stop, Don’t Touch, Run Away, Tell a Grown-Up” – a program that has been proven to be ineffective. Unless we actually start working together toward gun reform, we can expect to have more mourning families and more heartbreaking incidents like these.