The Elmira community is grieving the loss of a 12-year-old boy shot and killed during what police are calling an accidental shooting.
“It’s obviously a tragedy anytime a child is involved but I guess my first thought is the fact that somebody got a hold of a gun that wasn’t secured and were handling it carelessly,” Retired New York State Trooper Tom Huffman said.
According to police, the person holding the gun that killed 12 year old Jeremiah Alford didn’t think it was loaded, something Huffman says goes against one of the top safety practices for responsible gun handling.
“Treat a firearm as if it’s loaded, never point at anything you’re not willing to destroy, keep your finger off the trigger, that gun will not go off if your finger’s not on the trigger,” Huffman said.
Paul Perine, Sporting Goods Manager at Hesselson’s says tragedies like the one on West Hudson Street Saturday evening can be avoided by taking a few precautions.
“Firearm training starts in the home at a very very young age. Youngsters should be trained with a hands-off type of approach but also there needs to be a certain amount of effort that gets put into safe storage and so forth. Firearms should not be within easy reach or grasp,” Perine said.
Experts say the key to safe and responsible gun owner ship is proper storage.
“Keep the firearms secure, if they don’t have actual have physical control of the firearm it should be secured either with a gun safety lock or better yet in a gun safe,” Huffman said.
Perine says with a variety of affordable trigger locks available, there is really no excuse when it comes to safe storage of a firearm.
“You don’t necessarily have to have a gun safe to still be a responsible gun owner. Trigger locks are readily available and fairly inexpensive, you’re looking at $5 to $10 a piece, cable locks are a little cheaper than that, and many police departments have firearm safety programs where they will supply trigger locks free of charge for safe storage, so not being able to store them safely is really not an excuse,” Perine said.
Safety experts also suggest storing ammunition and firearms in two separate locations, and in areas not easily accessible to children.