Police unsure how 4-year-old had access to gun

Posted at 11:34 PM, Feb 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-02 06:30:36-05

The investigation into a four-year-old boy who accidentally shot and killed himself over the weekend has been turned over to the Baltimore City State's Attorney's office.

Saturday morning, police say four-year-old Isaiah Deloatch got a hold of a gun inside his home on North Athol Avenue.

He shot himself in the head, and later died.

Related: 4-year-old who fatally shot himself identified

Accoring to Jen Pauliukonis from the group Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, in Maryland any firearm – hand gun, rifle or shotgun -- must be stored in such a way that children 16 and under can't get to it.

“In general if any sort of criminal negligence has occurred with a child getting access to a gun, whether that results in injury or death those parents should be charged,” she said.

Maryland's "Child Access Prevention Law" is a misdemeanor; it became a law back in 1992.

“It sends a clear message to the gun-owning community all across the county that they need to be vigilant,” Pauliukonis said.

And she says most of them are:  “The majority of gun owners are responsible. The majority of gun owners follow the law and store their guns unloaded and locked away from their kids.”

But she also cites a recent study that found there were 265 accidental shootings involving children in the United States last year.

The group advocates for gun safety -- including calling for research into so-called “smart" guns that could only be fired by the owner.

“Our cars have a myriad of safe technology. There's no reason that gun manufacturers can't develop and sell guns that have the same sort of safety features to protect their children,” Pauliukonis said.

Baltimore City police have not said how the boy was able to get the gun -- or who it belonged to; they do say the boy lived in the house where it happened.

The decision on whether to file a criminal charge will be up to the Baltimore City State's Attorney.

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