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Gun safety in spotlight after accidental shooting leaves 15-year-old dead in Lithia

By The Numbers

LITHIA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Tampa Bay community is mourning after a 15-year-old was shot and killed on Friday night. While authorities are still figuring out the circumstances surrounding the shooting, law enforcement is emphasizing the importance of gun safety amid an uptick of unintentional firearm incidents throughout the state.

Despite the national trend of declining unintentional firearm injuries and fatalities, Florida has seen a steady rise. According to the Gun Violence Archive, unintentional shootings between September and December for the last three years has increased significantly.

The GVA reported 23 unintentional shootings in those four months in 2017. That number rose to 29 in 2018 and, with a few weeks left in 2019, the number of unintentional shooting in that four-month time frame is up to 38.

Florida’s unintentional shootings

Take a look at the number of unintentional shootings in Florida between September and December of the given year. Hover over the bar to see the exact number.

Source: Gun Violence Archive

Throughout 2017, Florida had more than 850 people injured from unintentional gunfire, with most occurring among people between the ages of 13 and 30, according to the CDC.

Nationally, there have been 1,753 unintentional shootings this year.

“As we enter the holiday season and more people have young visitors in their homes, please take the time to make sure your firearms are properly secured, ensure that they are not loaded and most importantly, teach young people that guns are not toys,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said. “These simple steps could help save a life and save another family from heartbreak.”

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