State Rep. Earl Harris Jr. (D-East Chicago) issued the following statement regarding a 4-year-old child in his district suffering from an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the hip after accessing an unsecured gun in the home:
“While I’m thankful this child didn’t lose their life – as far too many Hoosier children have been taken this year as a result of accidental shootings – this is yet another example of a completely preventable tragic incident. How many more children must endure traumatic injuries and death before we work to make a real change?
“As we’ve argued time and time again, there are ways to support the Second Amendment while simultaneously protecting our families and our communities. There are several common-sense reforms – including stronger gun storage laws, closing background check loopholes and the implementation of safeguards for people deemed to be a threat to themselves or others – which are effective and supported by the majority of Americans. As legislators, we have an obligation to our constituents to do everything we can to improve public safety, and these reforms would help us do just that.
“According to Every Town for Gun Safety, there have been over 20 unintentional shootings by children in Indiana this year, with six of these shootings resulting in death. This does not have to be our reality. In fact, we should all be horrified and moved to action by the high rates of children gaining access to guns and accidentally shooting themselves or someone else.
“I continue to hold this family in my prayers, but the reality is, prayers in the absence of legislation are not enough to prevent more tragedies like this from occurring in the future. As I and my colleagues prepare to address public safety and gun violence in the next session of the Indiana General Assembly, I urge all gun owners in House District 2 and throughout the state to securely store your firearms. For more information on how to properly secure firearms, visit Everytown for Gun Safety’s website.