Memphis leads nation in accidental youth shootings

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis ranks the highest in the United States when it comes to accidental shootings.

According to an in-depth AP report, Memphis ranked first in the nation in 2016 with 19 accidental shootings of minors.

So far this year, there have been 22. The latest being a 13-year-old who was shot and killed while playing basketball with friends.

"These types of shootings are 100 percent preventable," Safe Tennessee Project Police Director Beth Joslin Roth said.

Safe Tennessee Project is a gun violence prevention organization.

"We believe that this issue is not a political issue," Roth said. "We believe that is a public health issue."

For years, Safe Tennessee Project has advocated for a law with harsh penalties for adults who do not properly store their guns. Right now, that law does not exist in Tennessee.

The adult gun owner should be held responsible," Roth said. "The idea of child access prevention laws would be for the law to serve as a deterrent, much the same way that DUI laws serve as a deterrent."

So far, only five arrests have happened in the 22 accidental shootings of minors in Memphis in 2017.

To prevent your child from reaching a gun, experts say the only safe way to store your gun is unloaded, away from any ammo, and with a proper gun lock.

"Safe storage saves lives," Roth said.

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