If you own a firearm, making sure unauthorized people can’t access that firearm is your number one responsibility – especially if you have small children.
Vincent Shelby learned this lesson in the most excruciating way on June 2, 2021, when his 2-year-old son found his loaded handgun near the television and shot himself in the head with it.
Joliet Police Department officers responded to the shooting at 8:55 a.m. and attempted life-saving measures on 2-year-old Angelo Shelby. A Joliet Fire Department ambulance rushed the child to AMITA Health Saint Joseph Medical Center, but they were unable to save the boy’s life.
The gun was legally owned, according to Joliet Police Lt. Joe Egizio, and was stored in a television stand “where the child was able to access it.”
“Look, I can attest as a parent with my colleagues up here, things can go bad in a split second,” Lt. Egizio told reporters. “You have to be conscious of where you’re placing firearms if you own them. I, as a police officer and firearm owner, have to make that conscious decision every night, but again, bad things happen to good people.
“Bad things happen quick,” he said. “I’m not judging individual decisions. We are here to do our job, which we have, to investigate the unfortunate situation that happened this morning, and I’ll leave it at that.”
“Angelo was a beautiful, sweet, smart and funny and not to mention, shy little guy,” Angelo’s obituary stated. “When he didn’t have his cars, he had his phone watching Paw Patrol, Miraculous Ladybug, funny videos and dancing. He loved playing with his family …”
“The last thing we want them to worry about during this unexpected tragedy, is financial burdens,” says the GoGundMe Page set up to assist the family with funeral expenses. “We are asking for donations of any amount to help cover the funeral and family expenses for her precious baby boy.”
Simple Firearm Safety Precautions
American and Canadian law differs dramatically on firearms and firearm safety for a variety of cultural and historical reasons. While safe storage laws typically don’t exist in the United States, the following firearm safety tips are aimed at parents with small children.
- If you own a firearm, please keep it stored where your child cannot access it.
- Store your firearm unloaded so, in the unlikely event your child does access your firearm, they can’t hurt themselves or others with it.
- Take a firearm safety class and educate yourself on the safe handling and safe storage of firearms.
- Teach your children what to do if they find a firearm. The NRA’s Eddie Eagle gun safety program for children is an excellent resource.
DOES YOUR CHILD KNOW WHAT TO DO IF HE OR SHE FINDS A GUN?
The Eddie Eagle GunSafe® program is a gun accident prevention program that seeks to help parents, law enforcement, community groups and educators navigate a topic paramount to our children’s safety. Eddie and his Wing Team are on a mission to help you teach Pre-K through 4th graders what to do if they ever come across a gun…
This first step is crucial. Stopping first allows your child the time he or she needs to remember the rest of the safety instructions.
A firearm that is not touched or disturbed is unlikely to be fired and otherwise endanger your child or other people.
This removes the temptation to touch the firearm as well as the danger that another person may negligently cause it to fire.
Tell A Grown-up
Children should seek a trustworthy adult, neighbor, relative or teacher – if a parent or guardian is not available.