A Maine town is brimming with questions following an incident where a 2-year-old shot his parents inside their family home. While the incident appears to have been accidental, authorities and locals are now demanding to know how the toddler was able to access the weapon.
The incident reportedly occurred on the morning of Wednesday, May 12 around 8 am in Bath, Maine. According to Sheriff Joel Merry, the boy picked up an unsecured gun sitting on his parents’ nightstand and fired.
The bullet struck the boy’s mother in the leg, creating what reports called a “clean gunshot wound.” The father received a minor injury to the back of his head, while the child suffered a blow to the face from the recoil of the weapon.
The Hill reports that all three were taken to a nearby hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries. A 3-week-old baby who was in the room during the incident was unharmed.
A Community Demands Answers
In the wake of the shooting, local authorities and citizens have questioned why the child was able to access the weapon.
“The question of how the boy was able to pick up and fire the weapon is of great concern and is being investigated,” said Merry in an official statement. “This situation, while disturbing, could have had an even more tragic ending. We are thankful that the injuries were not more serious.”
“I mean, a loaded gun can do a lot of damage,” said Matt Ferrel, a neighbor of the family. “I know people want to stay protected and safe in their homes, but what happened here is really the opposite of that.”
Community resident Robin Buczkowski agreed.
“A parent should know better than to leave a loaded gun anywhere that a child can get it,” Buczkowski said. “For whatever reason, that did not happen in this particular case.”
Meanwhile, the Maine Gun Safety Coalition has pointed to the incident as an example of the need for stricter gun laws. In particular, the group hopes to pass LD 759, a bill that would penalize parents when their children gain access to loaded guns.
“What happened is a sad, shocking example of why we need LD 759,” said state Rep. Vicki Doudera, one of the bill’s sponsors. “Children are curious and this legislation sends the message that it is not okay to leave a loaded firearm where a kid might get it.”
The family’s two children have been placed in the care of their grandmother since the accident, according to Sheriff Merry.
“In the 12 years I’ve been sheriff, we’ve never had a situation like this,” he said. “If you have children, you should really be securing any firearm in a locked closet or cabinet or have a trigger lock.”