CLIVE, Iowa -- Police say a two-year-old boy is recovering in the hospital after he got ahold of his father’s gun and accidentally shot himself in the chest while the Council Bluffs family was staying at the Sterling Inn on Sunday.
“The family had stayed there the night before and I believe they may have been packing up to leave. The father had a permit to carry a concealed firearm. Unfortunately though, the firearm got left in a position where this two-year-old child got ahold of it and they weren’t able to get it away from him before the gun discharged,” Clive Police Chief Michael Venema said.
Venema said they are still investigating the incident in conjunction with the Iowa Department of Human Services and want to remind the public that with gun ownership comes a lot of responsibility.
“Locally we haven’t seen it a lot, but I think everyone's seen across the country, tragedies that have happened when children have gotten ahold of weapons. And it’s a great reminder that it only takes a split second for tragedy to happen and to please remind people to lock up those weapons,” Venema said.
Rangemasters General Manager Royal Nahno-Kerchee said law enforcement offices and gun stores have free or inexpensive gun locks that gun owner’s can pick up.
“Anytime that you’re going to be away from your gun, if you’re not storing it in a safe, well then by all means put these type of devices on it so you’re adding that extra layer of protection on there,” Nahno-Kerchee said.
He said it’s also important for gun owners to talk with everyone in the family about gun safety and it’s even more important to have locks or safes if you are around children too young to understand.
“It’d be nice to have something like this on there. Especially a two year old, because they get really touchy and they want to feel things and think ‘hey what does this do.’ They can’t talk to you or whatever, but they’ve got their hands working and that’s why it’s very important to have something like this,”Nahno-Kerchee said.
He said gun owners should also get into a routine of locking up their gun no matter where they are.
“You want to make sure and do the same thing as often as possible. Make sure you’ve got your cable lock, your trigger lock or your life jacket, things like that’s really important. You want to have those as you are traveling. So that way, if you are in a hotel, motel that you can put those away and everyone’s going to feel just a little bit safer as well. And you know, like we talked about earlier, as long as you practice it you can get to it if you have to in a case of emergency then,” Nahno-Kerchee said.
He said Rangemasters also has a variety of classes that also teach gun owners about safe practices.