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Neighbors, gun safety advocates urge proper firearm storage following accidental shooting in KCMO

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Posted at 5:31 PM, Apr 17, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-17 18:31:14-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A five-year-old boy is dead after he accidentally shot himself Tuesday night in the 7400 block of E. 51st Street.

Kansas City, Missouri, police said the boy was transported to an area hospital before he died.

Jeffrey McMillen lives up the street from the boy’s home. He said with so many children living on the block, the increase in gun use has become a concern for him.

“Just really, really sad. I mean, so young,” McMillen said.

Gun safety is a top priority of his, which led McMillen to get rid of one of his guns after his grandson found it in his home.

"Try to keep it out of sight and out of mind ... keep ‘em locked up, at least,” McMillen said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports self-inflicted injuries account for nearly 40% of all unintentional childhood deaths. More than half of that statistic includes children between the ages of birth to 5 years old.

“It's so unnecessary, that’s the part that is so heartbreaking,” said Judy Sherry, member of Grandparents Against Gun Violence.

Grandparents Against Gun Violence travels across Kansas City to give out free gun locks. The organization has handed out almost 6,300 locks in the past six years at over 260 community events.

"We used to have to ask people to invite us; it doesn't happen anymore,” Sherry said.

The group fundraises every year to buy locks because the success of such a program is not quantifiable, per Sherry.

"Your common sense tells you, we've saved a life,” she said. “We have saved a 4-year-old before, we have saved a teenager who’s just upset — saw a bad Facebook post, didn’t get invited to the prom — or an older person with a bit of dementia.”

Sherry said children, teenagers and elders are most at risk for accidental shootings.