PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — A 4-year-old boy was shot in the stomach by his grandmother in what police say was a tragic accident in the Germantown section of Philadelphia.
It happened around 8:30 p.m. Thursday on the unit block of East Penn Street.
Police say the 45-year-old grandmother owns the gun and has a valid permit to carry.
They tell us she was unloading it in the same spot in the house where she normally does and was about to put it in a lockbox.
She unknowingly had a round in the chamber, police say, and the gun went off.
Police say the shooting happened in the living room where were three other young children playing. However, no other injuries were reported.
The child was rushed to Einstein Medical Center, then he was airlifted to St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children.
The victim is now in stable condition, police say.
In a Friday morning update, Philadelphia police said the shooting was determined to be accidental and there are no charges at this time.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw tweeted about the shooting on Thursday night:
“I’m devastated that yet another innocent child was critically injured by gunfire in our city. While our department continues to investigate the circumstances of what initially appears to be a tragic accident, we pray that this boy – and all victims of gun trauma – make full recoveries. These tragedies should never happen, and their impact affects entire communities. As parents, mentors, and community members we all have to do better; for our kids, ourselves, and each other.”
Pennsylvania and Delaware do not require training before purchasing a firearm.
New Jersey, however, does have some training requirements in place.
“The more you know about the firearms that you have, the safer you can be,” said Kelvin Rowe, Senior Instructor and Assistant Director at the Leasot Academy.
Rowe said the Leasot Academy, which is on Delaware Avenue in Fishtown, is a family business that offers dozens of specialized firearm and personal defense courses.
He said there are important steps to properly handle and store a gun.
“One of the first steps is making sure you’re in a secure location. If you’re in a home and you’re loading and unloading, you want to make sure you’re at the lowest point of the home,” Rowe said. “That way if there’s an accidental discharge, it’s not striking anyone directly or anyone at all for that matter.”
Rowe also said to keep your finger off the trigger at all times and to point the gun in a safe direction.
He’s encouraging gun owners to buy safety locks.
“What can you do to make sure you’re the most safe?” Rowe said.
You do not need to own a firearm to take any safety classes at the Leasot Academy.
Rowe suggests that anyone thinking about purchasing a gun should sign up for a class somewhere, just so you’re up to date on all safety measures.
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