Twenty-three children, aged three or younger, have shot someone in the US this year. Eleven of these instances resulted in a death.
Most of the time – 18 of the cases – the children managed to shoot themselves, resulting in nine deaths. Twice so far in 2016, a young child has accidentally killed someone else: a two-year-old killed his mother in Milwaukee last week when a gun slid out from under a car seat and he discharged it, while a three-year-old boy killed his 9-year-old brother in Alabama in February.
There has been a particular rash of shootings by one-, two- or three-year-olds in the past two weeks alone. Since 20 April, gunfire has occurred on seven occasions, resulting in four child deaths, the death of one parent, and two injuries to children expected to recover.
According to research by the Washington Post, 18 toddlers shot someone in the same period between January and April 2015. The shootings seem to be more concentrated in parts of the south and midwest of the country.
"Georgia is home to the highest number of toddler shootings," according to reporter Christopher Ingraham, "with at least eight incidents since January 2015. Texas and Missouri are tied for second place with seven shootings each, while Florida and Michigan are tied for fourth, with six shootings apiece."
Georgia and Missouri both have lax laws concerning gun storage and preventing access to children, but New York, which has experienced only one toddler shooting since the start of 2015, has no such laws at all. This would seem to show that other cultural factors could be at play – "norms surrounding gun use and ownership", Ingraham suggests.
Population, meanwhile, is not a factor. Georgia and Missouri are relatively sparse states, and while Texas has a lot of residents, places like New York and California, home to tens of millions of people each, have seen just three shootings between them in 16 months.