Another child is dead from a gunshot in Palm Beach County.
On Feb. 13, 3 1/2-year-old Zuri Chambers somehow managed to get hold of her father’s gun and accidentally shoot herself.
According to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, she was flown relatively quickly to Delray Medical Center, but emergency doctors were unable to repair the critical damage done to her little body.
Sheriff’s investigators still are sorting out what happened. The toddler and her father, Thomas Chambers, were the only ones in the Lake Worth home at the time. The investigation could take weeks or months before being turned over to county prosecutors.
But “it appears to be a tragic accident,” a sheriff’s spokeswoman told The Palm Beach Post’s Alexandra Seltzer.
These tragic accidents are becoming far too common. Last month, a 4-year-old girl picked up a loaded gun and accidentally shot her 4-year-old cousin, who later died. The children were playing together in the Detroit home that belongs to their grandfather. The mother said she brought the gun into the home in December and put it in a bedroom closet.
A Detroit police officer testified that she arrived to find Jamel Witcher Jr.’s body on the floor of the home and asked the girl what happened. The girl replied:“I shot Junior dead.”
Sadly, one study reports some 7,500 children were admitted to U.S. hospitals with gunshot wounds last year. About 500 of them died.
Juxtapose this with Florida legislators last week working on a bill that would allow gun owners to apply for concealed weapons licenses at their local tax collector’s office. The National Rifle Association-backed bill was passed unanimously by the Senate Agriculture Committee.
You see, Florida has topped the 1 million mark in the number of concealed weapons permits, which means it’s boom time (pardon the pun) for the gun manufacturers funding the NRA. And the number is growing; so the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services needed to do something about the long waits at its eight regional offices.
Enter the counties’ tax collectors with their plentiful locations and efficient back-room operations.
NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer said making it easier for gun owners to get concealed weapons licenses, which require some training, could make Floridians safer, according to News Service of Florida.
“They become a little more conscious of the responsibility of gun ownership,” Hammer, who estimates that there are 8 million gun owners in Florida, told the News Service.“I think it can’t hurt.”
Neither would universal background checks.
But do we need a fight over another gun law, or to change our culture so that we aren’t so in love with firearms?
Pam Terry makes me choose the latter. Terry didn’t know Zuri. She lives near the toddler’s parents in Lake Worth and placed a teddy bear in front of the home.
“My heart just melted, and she should be remembered today,” Terry told The Post.“When a child is lost like that, it’s so disheartening with these guns. Please, please, please, lock up your guns. They don’t know any better, they don’t know if it’s loaded.”