A three-year-old boy in Texas has died at his own birthday party after finding a family member’s gun and accidentally shooting himself in the chest.
The accident happened on Saturday afternoon in Porter, 30 miles from downtown Houston.
“Family and friends had gathered earlier to celebrate the birthday of the three-year-old, and while playing cards, heard a gunshot,” the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said.
“The child was located with a gunshot wound to the chest.”
A pistol had fallen out of the pocket of one of someone in the family, they said. The toddler was taken to a nearby fire station, and pronounced dead.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of this tragic accident.”
Children finding guns and killing themselves and others is depressingly common in the United States.
It is at least the fifth fatal accidental shooting by a child this year in Texas, according to a tally kept by activist group Everytown For Gun Safety – meaning that Texas is tied with Tennessee for the highest number of such shootings in 2020.
There have been at least 229 unintentional shootings by children in 2020, it calculates, with 97 deaths and 139 injuries.
An estimated 4.6 million American children live in homes with at least one gun that is loaded and unlocked, the organisation says.
Every year, hundreds of American children gain access to firearms and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else.
The campaign group Be Smart recommends guns be stored unloaded, locked in a case, and placed in a secure locked box with the ammunition stored separately.