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Accidental shooting deaths common during the holidays

Smith: The reasons can range from drinking to shooting off celebratory gunfire

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – This is the time of year when there is a spike in accidental shooting deaths, according to News4JAX Crime and Safety Analyst Gil Smith. This is something that has seen over the last few years nationwide. 

Firearms are a popular gift during the holidays. But the numbers show, the holiday season can be one of the most dangerous. From Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve, the number of accidental shooting deaths has gone up over the last few years.

Smith says the reasons can range from people drinking, to shooting off celebratory gunfire into the air, or in some cases, the person isn't familiar with how some guns work. He showed us how easy it can be to make a mistake.

"Take this Glock 27. We can look here and see there's no magazine here and no bullet in the chamber. However, once you add the magazine to the chamber and ready the weapon, now it's loaded. This weapon is now dangerous. So, sometimes, what people will do is they will take the magazine out and say, 'okay, I removed the ammo, now the gun is not loaded'. That's not true because there is still one in the chamber. Sometimes people will make that mistake," said Smith. 

Smith also says in other cases, guns may not be locked up, and children might get to them. He says it's always important to purchase locks or safes for your firearms. Safes can be big or small, but what matters is they work. 

Smith also say it's always recommended to take a firearm safety class. They're offered in locations all over Northeast Florida.


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