NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) –
For the second time in a week, a toddler has been shot in Middle Tennessee.
Experts say it’s more proof that Tennessee has a real problem with children and guns.
Tommy Washington, 31, said it was all an accident. Early Wednesday morning, he said he was giving his baby Tyeion a bath. He had wrapped the boy in a towel and put him on a bed, where he had put two pistols.
When Washington left to drain the tub, he says the 18-month-old got his hands on one of those loaded guns and shot himself in the face.
This story is drawing extra attention because of another shooting Monday in Antioch, where a 3-year-old shot himself in the foot.
According to the Safe Tennessee Project, a volunteer organization that works to prevent gun violence, there have been 10 unintentional shootings of children related to gun storage since the beginning of the year: in Nashville, Chattanooga, Memphis and Springfield.
Two others, in Perry and Cocke counties, resulted in death.
State lawmakers failed to pass a bill last year that would have made it a crime to leave a loaded gun around a child 13 or younger.
A recent study found that Tennessee is one of seven states that “suffered disproportionately high rates of unintentional firearm deaths.”
Experts say it’s important to educate children about gun safety and what to do if they encounter a gun.
But when it comes to toddlers, the responsibility falls squarely on adults.
Washington is charged with aggravated child neglect for having his guns within reach of his young son. The child is expected to be OK.