by: Bridgette Matter, Action News Jax Updated:
NOTE: On May 17, 2017, a 3-year-old was shot in a Jacksonville Heights home. On CBS47 at 5, Letisha Bereola reveals that a staggering number of Jacksonville-area parents think their guns are secure -- when they are not.
In a controlled environment with nearly a half-dozen cameras and their parents looking on, Action News Jax Crime and Safety expert Ken Jefferson, a former JSO officer, gave us a startling reminder of just how vulnerable our children are.
In two toy-filled rooms, a gun that looks -- and feels real -- is hidden. Four hidden cameras revealed that 4-year-olds Landon and Harper found the fake gun less than 10 seconds into playtime.
Harper seemed unfazed as Landon waved the gun around.
“Who got me this cool real gun?” the child asked. In a chilling moment, Landon pointed the gun at Harper and tried to pull the locked trigger.
After a few minutes Landon decides to show his mom what he found.
“Mommy, I need to tell you something, yeah? I found a real gun,” Landon said.
Landon's mom, Whitney, doesn't own a gun, but Harper’s mom does. Both mothers admitted that they have never talked to their kids about gun safety.
“It's definitely something we should have discussed before now," said one of the mothers.
In the second test, three 7-year-olds were put in the same situation and these children realized the danger of the gun when they found it. The video revealed that although these children didn't touch the gun, they did not tell their parents about it.
Jefferson said that every kid should learn gun safety, so they know how to react, whether it's a real gun or just looks like one. “This is a fake gun, but when I saw it I immediately said, 'I thought we were using a fake gun, it looks so real you can't tell the difference,'” Jefferson said.
Even if there are no guns in your home, the same may not be true for your child's friends. Two simple steps for gun safety: Don't touch it ... and tell an adult immediately.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonpartisan research group, there were more than 2,000 accidental shootings in the United States in 2016.
Nearly 700 children under the age of 11 were injured or killed.
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