Advocates share message after 3-year-old kills self with unsecured gun

Nov 17, 2022, 7:13 PM

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — Gun violence prevention advocates are sharing a message after a toddler shot and killed himself in Taylorsville, highlighting what they say is a concerning trend with children and guns in Utah.

And they’re hoping for legislation to help turn the numbers around.

Police raced to Thornhill Park Apartments just after midnight Thursday, after a 911 call reporting a 3-year-old shot himself.

Officers and paramedics tried to save him, but the young boy died.

According to Taylorsville Police, the child’s mom and dad were home and awake at the time, but the gun wasn’t locked up and didn’t have a lock on it.

Somehow, the boy got ahold of it.

“It’s so sad,” said Terri Gilfillan, board chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Center of Utah.

The organization tracks gun-related accidents and deaths, including in children.

This is yet another number to add to their list.

“What we’re seeing is kind of an uptick in the last few years,” Gilfillan said, explaining that the data from a report they compiled together shows the number of unintentional shootings involving children in Utah is rising.

Gilfillan said in 2020, 18 children were involved in unintentional shootings. That one year alone was nearly half of what it was for an entire 10-year span. She said from 2008-2018, that number was 41 total.

They’re pushing for legislation in hopes of seeing a different kind of data.

“Utah doesn’t currently have any laws that require safe storage right now,” she said.

In addition to laws mandating safe storage, Gilfillan talked about the laws preventing child access to firearms.

“In 2017, a study by the Journal of American Pediatrics found that the states that have passed child access prevention laws, they saw a 23% decrease in unintentional shootings of children between the ages of 0 to 15,” Gilfillan cited.

Until then, she indicated they’ll keep working on awareness, education, and prevention.

Gilfillan said the top things they tell parents when it comes to child gun safety is to store guns away from ammunition, keep firearms locked up in a gun safe, and have a biometric lock on all guns.

“I don’t want to see more tragedies happen,” she said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Family Safety

Infographic showing snow storm coverage across the state....
Brooke Williams and Shara Park, KSL TV

High winds, heavy snow warning for ‘hazardous conditions’ Friday morning

A heavy snow storm is expected to move in overnight, bringing several inches Friday morning.
2 days ago
Aflac plush duck in business attire....
Parija Kavilanz, CNN Business

Dangerous, recalled toys are still on sale

Toys are still for sale despite being recalled for safety hazards.
16 days ago
(KSL TV)...
Karah Brackin

Students escape house fire in Provo; fire crews stress caution during holidays

Firefighters responded to house fires in Salt Lake and Utah counties Thursday morning, including one that initially trapped some BYU students.
16 days ago
A temperature inversion traps and fills Utah valley with thick smog as seen from Traverse Mountain ...
Brooke Williams

Up to $4,300 offered for Utahns to replace wood stove, fireplace heating

Wood stove and fireplace conversion project opens registration soon for eligible residents to receive financial compensation to upgrade their home heating systems.
1 month ago
A worker guides a Foster Farms truck as it prepares to make a delivery at the SF-Marin Food Bank on...
Brooke Williams

Chicken patties recalled due to possible ‘foreign matter contamination’

Foster Farms issued a recall on approximately 148,000 pounds of fully cooked, frozen chicken patty products that possibly contain "hard clear pieces of plastic," according to the FSIS.
1 month ago
Brooke Williams

3-year-old lost in wilderness overnight found safe Saturday morning

A 3-year-old boy went missing Friday night and was found on a hillside Saturday morning.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Advocates share message after 3-year-old kills self with unsecured gun