Another way that gun owners endanger YOUR children is by leaving these weapons accessible to their own kids, who wind up bringing them to school. Here are some of the stories:

In Seattle, Washington, a 9-year-old boy brought a gun to elementary school. It was in his backpack when it accidentally discharged, critically wounding an 8-year-old classmate. At last check several weeks later, Amina Kocer-Bowman, the girl shot, was in serious condition still at a local hospital, and doctors had decided not to remove the .45 caliber bullet, since it was lodged in muscle next to her spinal cord. The boy was sentenced to 12 months of probation and ordered to write a letter of apology. (USA Today, 2-24-2012; 3-7-2012; 3-9-2012)

In another incident, a 10th grader brought two guns to school in a backpack. When he accidentally dropped the bag one of the weapons fired, wounding two students with the same bullet. One 15-year-old boy suffered a neck wound; the bullet then went through him and struck a 15-year-old girl in the head, critically wounding her. The student apologized before running away, and was later arrested. (Bacon, 1-19-2011) In Dover, Delaware, a 12-year-old brought a gun to school and a 13-year-old was playing with it when the weapon went off in a school bathroom. No one was injured this time, but both boys were charged in the incident. (USA Today, 1-14-2016, 4A)

Another 7-year-old took two loaded handguns to school. Thankfully, it was discovered when one fell out of his bag. The child apparently thought the weapons – which included a .40 caliber Glock handgun – were toys. (Fox News, 4-1-2008) In Pittsfield, Massachusetts, a fully loaded gun was found in a locker at a middle school. (USA Today, 10-22-2015, p. 4A) In Spokane, Washington, a 9-year-old boy was expelled from Logan Elementary School for bringing a gun to the bus stop. (USA Today, 10-19-2015), 4A) In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, police were called in to investigate after an elementary school student found a bag filled with nearly 3 dozen bullets on the floor of the classroom. Nobody knows who they belong to or how they got there. (USA Today, 10-22-2015, 4A)

This problem is especially prevalent in violent, lower-income neighborhoods, where at some schools “guns are as familiar as book bags” (Nordland, 1992, p. 22), and violence has increased to the point that “even fourth and fifth graders are arming themselves.” (Morganthau et al., 1992, p. 25) Of course, kids this age can only get their hands on a gun if the adults around such weapons are making them accessible.