South Bend, IN -- Gun violence kills more than 90 people in America every single day, including accidental shootings. Locally we’ve seen several accidental shootings injure children and young adults recently.
Tom Davis was just 8-years-old holding his father’s gun when it unexpectedly went off, the bullet striking his mother’s leg.
“It was traumatizing. I had nightmares forever about it. I used to think about all the time. I can close my eyes and visualize it now, she was grabbing both sides of her legs and blood was flowing through her fingers, I freaked,” says Davis.
Davis says doctors considered amputating his mother’s leg but didn’t end up having to do that. Now, she is completely healed. 40 years later, Davis is a gun owner himself. He says he makes sure to take the extra steps to ensure his kids and grandchildren won't get ahold of his weapon.
“I believe in protecting yourself and your family. I had four children and I taught them from when they were little never to touch a gun, they aren’t toys to play with,” says Davis.
According to Everytown for Gun Safety, Indiana has one of the highest rates for unintentional shootings in the country.
“Our overall view of guns is somewhat casual and it could be more serious. They’re designed to be dangerous. So gun safety is really important, not just training and shooting but how you think about guns,” says Stephen Miller, an advocate with the local chapter of Everytown for Gun Safety.
“It happens periodically. It doesn’t happen with great frequency, thank goodness, but it does happen so certainly it’s something that we’re concerned about and unfortunately when it does happen the results are pretty tragic so we want to make sure that people are as safe as they can be,” says Chief Bill Thompson with the St. Joseph County Police Department.
Chief Thompson says parents with guns in the home should talk to their kids about the dangers.
“When you’re kid reaches that appropriate age, you have to have a talk with them about how guns are very dangerous and have the potential to be very destructive and it’s something you absolutely cannot touch. And the best advice is still if you find ours, stay away from it, make sure you let us know, or if you see one out and about at a park or something don’t touch it, go and tell an adult right away,” says Chief Thompson.
Everytown for Gun Violence recently introduced the “Be Smart” campaign instructing parents in how to treat the issue with kids, find those tips here.
On Saturday morning, the local chapter of Everytown for Gun Safety will be holding a walk and social in downtown South Bend. Click here for the details.