MIAMI – A 2-year-old boy accidentally shot himself Monday with a gun he apparently pulled out of his mother’s handbag and was fighting for his life, authorities in Georgia said.
“That child has been rushed to an area hospital and is currently in critical condition and currently in surgery,” said Mark Lavigne, spokesman for the DeKalb County police department.
Lavigne said the circumstances were under investigation but “the information we’re getting is that it is accidental, it’s not an intentional act.”
The child, who has not been identified, apparently took the handgun out of his mother’s bag and shot himself in the stomach.
The family, who were from neighboring North Carolina, were staying in a hotel in Lithonia, east of Atlanta, at the time of the incident.
“The mother is at the hospital. We’re interviewing her. A second individual that was in the room we’re interviewing at the scene here,” Lavigne said.
In 2015, 13,399 deaths in the United States were caused by firearms, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which reports that 3,300 of those wounded or killed by guns were under the age of 18.
Americans are sharply divided over rules governing gun ownership, with any attempt to tighten them opposed by many as an infringement on their constitutional right to keep and bear arms.