The North Port Florida Police have charged a southwest Florida man in the shooting of a six-year-old boy. According to the police, the six-year-old was shot by 23-year-old Chad Cousar. The boy was taken to a hospital in St. Petersburg for treatment of gun-related injuries; he was in stable condition. The police have charged Cousar with child neglect involving serious bodily injury and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Cousar’s records from the Florida Department of Corrections show that he has three previous drug convictions in Charlotte County. Cousar was being held in jail without bail.
The United States has the highest pediatric firearm-related mortality rate of any industrialized country. According to national surveys, approximately one third of American homes with children contain at least one firearm and nearly half of all firearms are not stored safely; the guns are loaded and not secured in a compartment such as a safe or lockbox. Unfortunately, high levels of parental safety in areas like child passenger safety do not translate into higher rates of gun safety. Studies show that parents do not view gun storage in the home the same way as other home childproofing safety issues. One possible explanation for this is parents’ misplaced confidence that, if given the opportunity, children would not handle or play with guns.
For more information on this topic, see Man charged with child’s shooting.