Boy, 5, shoots sister dead
5-year-old boy kills sister, 2, with birthday gift rifle.
Image: via Shutterstock

In what authorities are already suggesting will be ruled an accidental death, a 5-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his 2-year-old sister with a .22 calibre rifle he had received as a birthday present last year, according to Huffington Post.

The boy’s mother, who had been at home at the time of the shooting, had told investigators that the weapon was “stored in the corner”, and that they hadn’t known that there was still a shell inside.

The incident is obviously bound to add fuel to the anti-firearm debate in the US, but, in South Africa, there are plenty of gun-owners who could benefit from hearing about this tragic event.

South Africans may be owners of firearms, and the licensed ownership of a firearm carries certain restrictions about the storage of the weapon, including the verified installation of a safe in which weapons must be stored when not in use.

There have recently been cases in SA of accidental shootings, including that of a man who shot and killed his only daughter after he mistook her for an intruder.

With firearm ownership popular for many reasons, from hunting to self-defence, parents should consider the safety of all family members in terms of access to weapons, keeping weapons unloaded and updated licences so that these kinds of tragedies may be avoided.

Editor's note:
03/05/2013: While other sites chose to carry pictures of the actual children involved, we chose not to so as not to expose a minor to media speculation/humiliation. The stock image (clearly marked as such) was chosen to represent a young child holding a gun, with no mischief intended. Images of the actual child's rifle were not available at the time of publishing. The Crickett "My First Rifle" (the brand used in the accident)may be viewed on this Daily News article.

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