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Message from the State Attorney

Photo: Katherine Fernandez Rundle Headshot 2

Katherine Fernandez Rundle
State Attorney

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Dear Friend,

Every time a child’s life is taken or impacted by a firearm, our hearts break and we ask ourselves “what could have been done to prevent it”.

Some of the most tragic cases are those of children who accidentally shoot themselves with a gun belonging to a parent or family member. According to a study in the scientific journal Injury Epidemiology, most children in the U.S. who die from an accidental shooting were playing with guns at home or mistaking them for toys. Research suggests that over 90% of guns used in these shooting deaths were left unlocked, loaded, and available. In almost 50% of accidental shootings where these unintentional deaths occurred, the child victims were between two and four years old.

The study also stated that most of those accidental gun deaths were
self-inflicted, especially for children under five, who unintentionally shot themselves in 8 out of 10 cases. For older kids, ages 10 to 14, nearly a third of the shooters were friends of the victims.

For the most part, these shootings were easily preventable, making them all the more distressing. Those who lawfully own firearms must be keenly aware of the potential risks and responsibilities that are inherent to gun ownership. They should take common sense steps to keep their firearms locked, unloaded, and away from children, particularly when kept in the home.

At my office, we have seen many cases where a firearm that was hidden in a closet, a drawer, or a high shelf wasn’t enough of a barrier to keep a child from getting their hands on it. Simply hiding firearms rather than locking them away can be like hiding holiday gifts. Naturally curious kids end up finding them.

By Florida law, any person who stores or leaves a loaded firearm on premises under his or her control and who knows or reasonably should know that a person under age 16 is likely to gain access to the firearm without the lawful permission of the minor’s parent or person having charge of the minor, or without supervision required by law, must do one of the following:

·        Keep the firearm in a securely locked box or container;
·        Keep the firearm in a location which a reasonable person would believe to be secure; or
·        Secure the firearm with a trigger lock.

I ask you to join me and my team in spreading the word about the importance of safely and securely storing firearms. By creating awareness and education, we can keep firearms out of the hands of our children and prevent them from harming themselves or others.

Thank you and God Bless,


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