Recent Child Deaths Spark Gun Safety Awareness

Officials: 4 Indiana Children Die In Accidental Shootings

A child died after a shooting in rural Wells County on Friday, police said.

Investigators did not release many details on the events leading up to the shooting, but they did say the shooting happened in Ossian, north of Fort Wayne, while the child was under adult supervision.

The child's death marks the fourth gun-related incident in less than a month in Indiana, 6News' Rick Hightower reported.

A new program at the Eagle Creek Pistol Range in Indianapolis is working to raise awareness and to prevent gun-related accidents involving children.

Guy Relford, president of Tactical Firearms Training, LLC, said Indianapolis recently privatized the firing range on weekends and asked TFT to help with the program.

"If (parents) are going to have firearms in their home, those kids need to be talked to. They need to be educated, and most importantly, the guns need to be inaccessible to anyone who's not trained with a firearm," Relford said.

Relford recommended that parents become involved in teaching gun safety to their kids if there are guns in the home.

Officials said the program could potentially save lives.

A 4-year-old Cedar lake boy died Thursday after accidentally shooting himself and a 2-year-old Connersville boy died July 14 after being accidentally shot by his 5-year-old brother, police said. A 6-year-old Martinsville boy died June 30 after being shot by his 11-year old brother, officials said.

In all four cases, officials said the children were able to gain access to a loaded deadly weapon inside their homes.

"It's just heart breaking because all those incidents are absolutely preventable, 100 percent preventable with just a little bit of education and a little bit of training," Relford said.

Relford said more women, including mothers, are learning how to shoot, but more importantly, learning how to teach their children about gun safety.

Allie Stone has a young teen at home and was at the shooting range on Saturday.

"I think (my son) is interested in taking a class, but we're secure. We have the gun locks. Those are free. I just think you have to be smart and look into all different options," Stone said.

Others at the range said there's a fine line between gun safety and jeopardizing the safety of your child when it comes to a gun in the home.

"There's a balance between having your gun ready to use when you need it, and having it safe when you have children around. You have to find that balance," Sharla Faust said.

Classroom firearms safety courses for children and adults are available at the pistol range, Relford said.

"For me, I thought it was great. It gave me a little more confidence on handling guns. Then, when your kids are old enough, you can teach them and train them in the proper atmosphere about proper gun handling safety," Stone said.

Relford said children as young as 12-years-old are allowed to shoot on the range under the direction of parents and certified firearms instructors.

"I teach a home firearms safety course that's in the classroom. There's no live fire exercises out on the range. It's a four hour course all in the classroom and that's open to all ages. It really is the perfect opportunity to start talking to families about how to safely store firearms and handle firearms around the home," Relford said.