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Kern County Sheriff's Office offers gun safety tips after two-year-old shoots relative

Posted at 4:32 PM, Sep 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-29 01:30:55-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — How does a 2-year-old get a gun and manage to shoot a family member? That's a question the sheriff department is trying to figure out after that exact situation happened in North Bakersfield over the weekend. 23ABC’s Bayne Froney has an update on the case as well as tips from the sheriff's department on gun safety with children.

The relative of the two-year-old who was shot is still in critical condition according to the Kern County Sheriff's Office and for right now, the incident is still under investigation.

“At this point, we are going through all the various interviews and still doing some follow-up investigations as far as where the gun was located, how it got there, who the gun belonged to," explained Lt. Joel Swanson of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office.

The KCSO is still investigating how a two-year-old managed to get a hold of a gun on Sunday morning at around 8:30 am at an apartment complex near the 5500 block of Norris Road in North Bakersfield. According to the sheriff's investigation that two-year-old accidentally shot a relative, who is still in the hospital, and listed in critical condition.

Swanson told 23ABC at this point in the investigation they are still trying to determine who the gun belongs to and if it is registered.

"Once we determine how everything happened, why everything happened, we will make our decision on the criminal charges and send that over the DA’s office.”

As authorities continue their investigation, the sheriff’s office wants to remind gun owners that communicating and discussing gun safety with your children is important.

“A lot of parents think 'oh well if I just hide it, if I keep it away from my kids that will be better,' but it is really best to talk to your kids about it," explained Elvie Martinez, a crime prevention specialist with the KCSO. "Give them rules about your gun, never touch it, don’t get it out, maybe even explaining why you have the gun.”

Martinez said that keeping the gun out of sight and out of reach is key.

“It has to be stored properly and some of the things that you can do are in a safe, in a big safe, some people can’t afford a safe so there’s other options.”

Another option is using locks as a way to prevent the gun from being used.

“It’s just a regular padlock that you can put in your gun and you can’t fire it.”

Martinez also recommends taking ammunition of out the gun when storing it to avoid accidents, but if it is used for safety and that is not an option, to make sure the gun is properly locked up and safe.

“Many people own guns for their own protection, but we have to keep it safe.”

KCSO recommends using more than one safety tactic, such as using a trigger lock and a locked safe in order to maximize protection for your children.