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4-Year-Old Who Shot Mother Is A Grim Reminder Of Why We Need To Talk About Gun Safety

Authorities in Indianapolis are investigating a shooting that sent two to the hospital early on Sunday morning, according to The Indy Channel. A 25-year-old woman is believed to have been accidentally shot in the back of the head by her 4-year-old daughter at their home. The authorities believe the little girl picked up the gun from a nightstand then pulled the trigger. The bullet grazed her cheek and then hit her mother, who was asleep at the time of the incident. They were both transported to a hospital. The 4-year-old is in stable condition and her mother underwent immediate surgery. Of course, while it's a terrifying account, the story of a 4-year-old who shot her mother is just another grim reminder of why we need to talk about gun safety — especially in households where firearms are already present.

This isn't a one-in-a-million-story. While most people believe they're being careful about having guns and children in the same house, the sad truth is that an alarming number of incidents exactly like this happen every year. According to Everytown For Gun Safety, more than 2 million American children live in homes with guns that are not stored safely. There have been at least 215 child shootings this year alone. By May 1, 2016, toddlers had shot at least 23 people. In 2015, Everytown reported, 265 people were accidentally shot by children. The accidental shooting in Indianapolis on Sunday then is, sadly, all too common.

It's not just children who are affected by the epidemic of gun violence in America, either. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 33,000 people died from gun related injuries in 2013. These statistics are undoubtedly terrifying. Perhaps, most of all, because they could have been prevented. The scientific journal Epidemiologic Reviews released an analysis of international gun control laws in 2016; in it, Columbia University's Julian Santaella-Tenorio and a team of researchers reviewed 130 studies on gun control legislation in 10 different countries, according to The Washington Post. Santaella-Tenorio and his team came to the conclusion that "comprehensive gun legislation packages — which include an array of different policy changes — seem to be associated with reductions in gun deaths."

For the last eight years, the United States has had a president that has openly advocated for common sense gun safety laws. Our president-elect, on the other hand, has vastly different views. Gun control was one of the most divisive issues of the 2016 presidential election. Donald Trump campaigned against his opponent and predecessor's views on gun control, and openly welcomed an endorsement from the National Rifle Association. Trump's views on gun safety could be a serious setback for the American people, if he and his party fail to try and compromise with their more gun-control-minded counterparts across the aisle.

The epidemic of gun violence in America is a real, serious, and devastating problem. We need to — and more importantly, can — prevent tragedies like the one that happened in Indianapolis on Sunday morning by actually educating families, talking to them about guns, and increasing safety measures that would protect children from accessing weapons in the first place. We need to drastically reduce, and hopefully stop altogether, mass shootings in America. Now, more than ever, is the time to talk about how to improve our country's gun safety laws.