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Indianapolis sees spike in accidental shootings, many children falling victim

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Posted at 7:04 PM, Jun 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-01 19:27:03-04

INDIANAPOLIS — There have been a number of heartbreaking accidental shootings across Indiana, and they have been happening more frequently.

IMPD says a rise in accidental shootings around Indianapolis has Hoosiers concerned.

“I’ve seen a lot of accidental shootings,” Vinzel Mead said.

Mead lives in Indianapolis. He says he thinks responsibility should fall on the gun owner.

“I don’t think permitless carry has anything to do with it,” Mead said.

Just this week, two Indianapolis kids shot themselves, the most recent being on Wednesday. A 10-year-old on the city’s east side fell victim.

“We’re averaging almost 10 accidental shootings a month. People are accidentally shooting themselves because they don’t know how to handle a gun,” IMPD Assistant Chief Chris Bailey said. “They’re not trained to clean it. They’re not properly storing it away from children and other individuals.”

IMPD says at least 59 people have been accidentally shot in Indianapolis this year. Three of those were deadly.

The spike of accidental shootings across Indianapolis comes just shortly after permitless carry went into effect last summer.

Last July, Indiana passed a new law peeling back restrictions for gun owners, meaning a permit isn’t required to have a gun.

IMPD Chief Randall Taylor previously spoke in opposition of the law.

“The whole losing the permit thing, I think, was the wrong move,” Chief Taylor said.

IMPD says they can’t link the rise of accidental shootings directly to the permitless carry law, but Chief Taylor says he feared a rise in crime would come with passing the law.

“I’m not against guns, but obviously I am against them being accessible to everybody,” Chief Taylor said.

Accidental shootings weren’t tracked ahead of the permitless carry law, but that changed after IMPD noticed a spike in numbers around the same time the law was passed.

“I just feel like it’s one of those things that can happen to anyone. It’s sad but I can’t really blame anything or anybody for it,” Mead said.

Some Hoosiers say those buying a gun should be required to take a safety class or be educated on how to properly store the firearm.

“Teach your children gun safety. I think as a society, we need to be more responsible,” Indianapolis resident Kit Cunningham said.

Others believe the new law is making it easier for accidents to happen.

IMPD says education is key to being safe around guns. The department will soon launch a program to offer free gun locks to be delivered to Hoosiers.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Department also offers locks at any Indianapolis public library free of charge.