In a controlled environment with nearly a half-dozen cameras and their parents looking on, Action News Jax crime and safety expert and former JSO Officer Ken Jefferson, 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 only eight seconds into playtime.
Harper seemed unfazed as Landon waved the gun around. “Who got me this cool real gun,” the child said. In a chilling moment, Landon pointed it right at Harper and his little finger 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,'” he 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 go tell an adult immediately. A lesson these kids and their parents now take to heart after watching the surveillance video.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonpartisan research group, there were more than 2,000 accidental shootings in the United States in 2016.
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