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Health, Science, Environment

State representative co-founds alliance to prevent accidental gun deaths

Toya Williams of St. Louis picked up a gun lock at the National Council of Jewish Women's Back-to-School Store Sunday, July 24, 2016. She said she liked the suggestion to wear the key around her neck.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio
Toya Williams of St. Louis picked up a gun lock at the National Council of Jewish Women's Back-to-School Store Sunday, July 24, 2016. She said she liked the suggestion to wear the key around her neck.

A Missouri state representative from St. Louis County is launching a coalition to prevent the shooting deaths of children who find a loaded weapon in the home. The Children’s Firearm Safety Alliance will work with Washington University researchers to build a database tracking accidental shootings nationwide.

“First of all, you need to know what the numbers are. You need to know what the incidents are. We also need to know if adults are charged with anything in their states,” said Rep. Stacey Newman, D-Richmond Heights.

At least 95 children in the United States have been shot and killed accidentally so far this year, according to the database.

Injuries are far more common, according to previous Wash U research. Between 2008 and 2013, St. Louis Children's Hospital and Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital treated 398 children age 16 or younger for firearm injuries. Nearly a third of the shootings were accidents.

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Newman plans to reintroduce a bill to the legislature next year that would make it crime to keep a gun unsecured if children are injured as a result.

“It’s just like what we all accept now in terms of child car seats, seatbelts, even drunken driving. We expect that if something happens that you are going to be held criminally responsible,” Newman said.

Follow Durrie on Twitter: @durrieB

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