3 deaths in the U.S. this week from children getting at guns

The Journal of Pediatrics reported last year that in 2009 an average of 20 children and teens were hospitalized every day with firearms injuries.

By Frances Burns

WASHINGTON, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- At least three boys were killed in handgun accidents in the United States this week, two who shot themselves and the third shot by his 5-year-old brother.

The deaths came less than a month after a 2-year-old killed his mother in an Idaho Walmart. That boy, riding in a shopping cart with his mother's handbag, got into it and apparently opened the zippered compartment where she kept her gun.


In an article last year in the Journal of Pediatrics, doctors at the Yale and Boston University medical schools said that firearms are the second-ranking cause of death for children and teenagers in the United States. They determined that in 2009 an average of 20 children and teens a day were hospitalized because of gun injuries.

In the most recent death, a toddler, Kaleb Ahles, found his father's loaded handgun in the glove compartment when he was briefly left alone in the car Wednesday afternoon in the Tampa area. Kevin Ahles had a permit for the gun and felt he needed it for protection in his job as a restaurant manager.


The boy's grandfather, a retired Tampa police detective, said Ahles was a responsible gun owner.

"Yesterday was just a lapse of judgment," the elder Ahles, also named Kevin, said. "I'm not blaming my son. Guns and kids don't mix."

In Benton Township, Mich., a 3-year-old was killed earlier Wednesday by an accidental shot from his father's gun. A relative told WSBT-TV the father is "one of the most responsible gun owners I know."

On Monday. a 5-year-old in Elmo, Mo., shot his 9-month-old brother with a .22 magnum he fond on a shelf in the headboard of his parents' bed.

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