Dad arrested after 6-year-old son shoots himself with pistol

A 6-year-old boy in Hartford, Connecticut, accidentally shot himself in the hand after discovering a pistol in his yard. This led to the arrest of his father on charges of risk of injury to a minor, according to city police. Cameron West, 41, was taken into custody on Wednesday and later released on a $100,000 bond. The handgun’s owner has not been identified, said department spokesman Lt. Aaron Boisvert. The investigation is ongoing, but the gun was not reported stolen, Boisvert added. The child has since been discharged from the hospital. West is scheduled to appear in Hartford Superior Court on Thursday.

The incident occurred on Wednesday afternoon when the boy found the gun outside his home on Martin Street in the North End. He brought it inside and accidentally shot himself, prompting his father to call emergency services. Under a state law signed by Gov. Ned Lamont earlier this year, all firearms must be securely stored in households. This legislation builds upon Ethan’s Law, enacted in 2019, which mandates the safe storage of firearms in households with minors under the age of 18. Ethan’s Law was named after Ethan Song, a 15-year-old who tragically died in 2018 after accidentally shooting himself at a friend’s house.

According to the nonprofit organization Everytown for Gun Safety, there have been at least 2,802 unintentional shootings by children aged 17 and younger in the United States between January 2015 and last year. These incidents resulted in the deaths of 1,083 individuals and injuries to 1,815 others. The majority of these shootings occurred in or around homes, particularly during weekends and the summer months when children are more likely to be at home. Everytown for Gun Safety also highlighted the correlation between the strength of gun storage laws and the variation in shooting rates across different states.

An analysis of the incidents revealed that nearly one child gains access to a loaded firearm and unintentionally shoots themselves or someone else every day in America, averaging around 350 children per year. Over 70% of these unintentional child shootings occur in or around homes. The age groups most at risk of unintentional shootings are high schoolers between the ages of 14 and 17, followed by preschoolers aged five and younger.