Officials take action against the increase in child gun deaths - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Officials take action against the increase in child gun deaths

There's been a dramatic increase in child gun deaths, and state officials are taking action. They also say parents and guardians have to step up.

Cartoons are something children grow up with, but Department of Children and Family Services Secretary Ruth Johnson said those animated images that children entertain themselves with, can shape the rest of their lives.

"What children see in cartoons where someone gets shot and they get up and next week, they're back on their cartoon. So they don't understand the seriousness of playing with a gun," said Johnson.

In the right hands, it can serve as protection. But in the wrong hands, as in the past two months, it's proven deadly. So far this year, there have been four separate accidental shootings involving toddlers and children with the youngest just 11 months old. Of those, two children died, two others are lucky to be alive.

Compare that to the previous three years: four cases in 2009, two of them were deadly, one in 2010 and three children died in 2011.

"That's for an entire year, and so in just a matter of months this year, we've equaled the highest of the three previous years," said Johnson.

That's why DCFS is joining forces with state police in hopes of educating children and preventing future cases.

"We're going to make our investigators available to the DCFS staff to look at these incidents to review what happened, what could have been prevented," said La. State Police Capt. Doug Cain.

In the meantime though, when it comes to using these weapons, you need proper training. Pistol and rifle instructor Wade Duty said there are some basics: assume a gun is loaded at all times and never point at something you don't mean to shoot at.

"When you're loading, unloading, manipulating, doing anything with the firearm, your finger stays straight along the firearm, not on the trigger itself," said Duty.

State police plans to stress gun safety even more when talking to children at schools over the upcoming months.

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