Roanoke gun safety groups push gun locks following accidental shooting

Research shows 1 in 3 guns left loaded, unlocked in the home

ROANOKE, Va. – Two children died Tuesday after accidental shootings in the commonwealth, and one was right in our area. The first happened outside of Richmond, the other happened in Roanoke. Following the news, two groups said gun locks prevent these type of incidents.

To be clear, the two groups didn't know any of the children involved in either case, nor did they know the parents, and they're not judging them. They just want people to know gun locks save lives.

A gun lock is a simple device that serves one purpose. Gun safety advocates argue accidental shootings involving kids are almost always avoidable by using a gun lock.

"It's not fair for us to put these attractive nuisances in front of children and expect them to handle them as an adult," Locked Guns Save Kids Co-Founder Dustin Eshelman said.

We don't know how a 2-year-old got a hold of the gun Tuesday morning in the Ashton Heights Apartments. As expected, police aren't saying much just yet, only that the boy's parents flagged down an officer a few blocks away at the intersection of Melrose and Peters Creek saying their son accidentally shot himself.

"Anytime I hear the news about anyone being shot, whether it's a child or an adult, it's very frustrating," Moms Demand Action Group leader Karen Cobb said.

It's especially frustrating because Karen Cobb had begged City Council no more than 24 hours prior to the accidental shooting for more focus on preventing gun deaths at a regularly scheduled meeting. Tuesday's situation marks the second accidental death in the Roanoke area in the last two years.

"It's gun irresponsibility if it does turn out to be accidental, and that's one of the things that Moms Demand Action focuses on," Cobb said

According to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, one in three handguns is kept loaded, unlocked in the house and most children know where they are. The two groups in Roanoke say gun owners must act.

"If you have a gun, please be responsible, don't ask our children to be adults, and lock it so that no one can access it," Eshelman said.

Roanoke police continue to investigate the situation and say that parents are cooperating. No charges have been placed at this time.

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