At least 73 children under the age of 12 were killed last year in accidental shootings, more than once every week, a vexing issue for prosecutors who are unsure of who to blame and how that person should be punished, according to a report published Tuesday by USA Today.
Montreal Dunn, 2, of Louisville was one of the victims.
The toddler died last August after he found a gun and shot himself in the head. Police have not charged anyone in the case, though Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin said, "parents should be held accountable in large measure for ensuring their children are safe."
In Maryland, 2-year-old Tyree Flint found a handgun in a bedroom and fatally shot himself. Others were in the home sleeping.
Police charged 25-year-old Shaquiel Malquan Griffin, a house guest, with involuntary manslaughter. He owned the gun.
USA Today and the Associated Press in 2017 found, of the 152-gun deaths from 2014 to 2016, half of gun deaths ended in a criminal charge, usually against adults who police said should have supervised the children closely.
"Nearly identical cases then and in 2018 had marked different outcomes," the news outlet reported.
David Chipman, a former agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told USA Today the focus should be on prevention.
"The law is meant to punish, deter, and hold people accountable, but the real issue should be how to prevent something with a fatal outcome," he said. "So, we have to deter that behavior and educate people."
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