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Child, 2, finds loaded gun in home and shoots himself

Posted at 10:09 PM, May 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-24 22:09:41-04

MILWAUKEE (WISN/CNN) - A couple showed up about 10 p.m. Tuesday at Children’s Hospital, holding their 2-year-old son, D.J., who had been shot. 

Police said the child’s 29-year-old father, who was recently released from jail, left a gun where the boy could reach it, and he shot himself. The child survived with non life-threatening injuries. His father is under arrest and has four convictions for carrying a concealed weapon.

A next door neighbor, who never heard gunfire, was shocked.

“Why would you bring a gun in the house and leave it some place that your child could get it?” said Willie Nealy, who lives nearby. “I’m against guns. I’m real against them.”

Dr. Stephen Hargarten, director of the Injury Research Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin, said the issue goes well beyond the obvious need for parents to secure firearms from their children.

“This is happening, unfortunately, on a regular basis across the United States,” Hargarten said.

For years, Hargarten has been pushing for smarter gun designs that couldn’t be fired by a child, or for that matter, any unauthorized user.

“We haven’t had that kind of a momentum, that kind of federal leadership of the design of the firearm,” he said. “This is a mechanical product. This is a mechanical device that hasn’t changed essentially since the 1800s.”

According to the child’s grandfather, police later found the gun hidden in the basement. The boy’s father is in jail, but he has not been charged yet.

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