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Once again, children are paying for an adult’s grossly negligent storage of a firearm.

A 2-year-old shot a 1-year-old sibling inside a parked car in north Baton Rouge on Tuesday night, leaving the infant in serious condition at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, Baton Rouge Police reported.

The shooting was called in to EMS at 7:23 p.m. and occurred at a strip mall near the corner of North Foster Drive and Greenwell Springs Road, said Sgt. L’Jean McKneely, a spokesman for the Police Department.

McKneely said the handgun was inside the car and there were two adults around but he’s not sure how the 2-year-old got a hold of the gun. He said the family drove the child who was shot in the face to the hospital rather than wait on EMS.

Let me make this very simple: if a firearm is not in your immediate possession, it should be locked up so that it cannot be accessed by unauthorized users. “Immediate possession” of a firearm means in your hands or holstered/slung your body. It does not mean stuffed in a bag or purse, in the console or seat pocket of a vehicle, in a drawer, on a closet shelf, on top of your fridge, under the bed, etc. If you aren’t touching it, it needs to be locked away.

Period. 

Unless it is also your primary defensive weapon, it should also be locked away with the magazine removed, and the chamber cleared (It’s perfectly fine to keep a home defense weapon stored loaded, as long as all authorized person in the home know that that weapon is always stored hot).

Without exception, every child-involved shooting I’ve covered involved an adult putting a loaded weapon where a child could access it. Some of these were deliberate miscalculations—”I didn’t think he could reach it if I put it on the top of the fridge”—and others were simple negligence, such a putting a gun in the back seat of a car (or a purse put in the back seat of a car) and forgetting it was there, which seems to account for a stunning percentage of child-involved shootings.

Authorities haven’t shared the details of this specific toddler-on-infant shooting, but we do know for a fact that the owner was not carrying the gun on their body as they should have been.

I cannot dissuade you enough away from off-body carry. It is my opinion that it is never safe, and all too often plays a significant role in out-of-home child shootings because purse or bag-carried guns are put where unauthorized people (such as small children) can get into the bag/purse and get the gun.

Just don’t do it.