BEAUMONT, Texas — Recent accidental shootings that left two children hospitalized and one man dead have renewed the conversation of gun safety in Southeast Texas
In Jasper County, a 4-year-old gained access to a firearm. The gun went off, shooting the 4-year-old in the arm. The bullet went through the child’s arm and hit a 2-year-old in the shoulder.
Both were taken to area hospitals and are in stable condition
In Beaumont, police suspect the shooting death of an 18-year-old man was accidental. Detectives believes the wound was unintentionally self-inflicted.
A 2019 study done by the University of Vermont suggests that 28.3 percent of accidental deaths happen because a person is playing with a gun, 17.2 percent happen because a person believes a fireman is not loaded, and 13.8 percent happen while hunting.
Groves resident Corbin Stepan is a hunter and has been handling guns since he was young. The hunter learned how to handle BB gun at 7 years old.
When Stephan was 16, he took a gun safety class. Now, he stresses the importance of it.
“Always, always, always treat as if the gun is loaded,” Stepan said.
The importance of gun safety is personal to Stepan, he said. A few years ago, a tragic incident took place on property near his family’s hunting lease.
“Someone died on our property, on our lease,” Stepan said. “They thought it was [going] to be a deer and they shot, ended up killing his own family member.”
While hunting, Stepan said you should never point a gun down the range unless you know what you are shooting. Stepan’s lease has since passed a rule that all hunters must wear orange.
“Whether it’s your backpack, a hat, some sort of [highly visible] orange to where you can see another person walking in the woods, whether if they’re tracking a deer or what not,” Stepan said.
Stephan Watson, a gun safety specialist, said there are three rules to follow when handling a gun; always point a firearm in a safe direction, keep your fingers off the trigger until you have sight of your target, and keep your firearm and ammunition in separate places.
Children are able to accidentally fire guns because a trigger only needs about three to four pounds of pressure to fire, Watson said.
To lower the chances of a child obtaining a gun and accidently firing it, there are gun locks that gun owners can get for free. There are also safes gun owners can have in their homes and cars.
“Whenever there’s a negligent discharge, or an unauthorized person gets access to a firearm, and there’s injury or death, it’s heartbreaking, because it could have been prevented,” Watson said.
Written by Dominique Leh, Tiana Johnson (KBMT)