That toddler who found the gun in his mother’s handbag at Walmart and killed her with it – how often do accidents of that kind happen?
No one knows, David Graham at the Atlantic tells us.
There aren’t reliable statistics on gun incidents involving kids.
Because…it doesn’t matter? We forgot? There’s no money in the budget for that? We’re going to do it next year?
…it’s unclear how often children accidentally shoot people. The Washington Post looked into the question earlier in 2014, after a 9-year-old at a shooting range in Arizona lost control of an Uzi and killed her instructor. Mark Berman found that no agency could give him a clear answer on the matter. While there are often media reports about such deaths, there’s no comprehensive database. One can track the number of victims of accidental shootings younger than 18 with some confidence, but it’s tougher to track them by who’s pulling the trigger.
Maybe that’s because what’s the point of collecting the data if you can’t do anything about the problem?
Research for more than a decade has found that accidental shooting deaths are consistently undercounted.
The upshot of all this is that it’s hard to learn any policy lessons from Rutledge’s death—in addition to the impossibility of making sense of it on any emotional level.
But what’s the point of learning policy lessons if you’re not allowed to put what you learn into practice?