A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that children and teens involved in unintentional fatal shootings most commonly found the gun inside or on top of a nightstand, under a mattress or pillow, or on top of a bed, Axios reports. The data, which covers nearly 20 years of deadly firearm accidents among youth, demonstrate why putting a gun out of sight or out of reach is not "safe storage," federal researchers said. They said the study underscores the need for policymakers, health experts and parents to promote safe gun storage.
Using data recorded between 2003 and 2021 by the National Violent Death Reporting System, researchers identified more than 1,250 unintentional gun deaths among kids. The vast majority involved guns that were unlocked (76%), and most of those unlocked firearms were also loaded (91%). Two-thirds of unintentional gun injury deaths among kids occurred when the shooter was playing with the gun or showing it to others. In 30% of deaths, guns were found around nightstands and other sleeping areas. Guns were also most commonly found on top of a shelf or inside a closet (18.6%) or inside a vehicle (12.5%). Previous research has shown guns are the leading cause of death among kids in the U.S., reaching a record high in 2021. Kids who survive shootings — and their families — face greater health burdens.