OKLAHOMA CITY – Firearms are the second leading cause of death for children and teens in Oklahoma, a statistic Sen. Mary Boren hopes to change with her Senate Bill 1294. The legislation would clarify that it is legal for a child to possess a firearm for hunting or for hunter safety classes, education and training in the safe use and handling of firearms, and other sporting events. The bill also clarifies the responsibility of firearm owners to supervise a child’s use of their firearms.
“Every year, hundreds of children across the nation get ahold of firearms and unintentionally and tragically shoot themselves or someone else. Oklahoma has the tenth highest rate of gun death in the country, with an average of 711 people killed each year, including 55 children and teens,” Boren said. “Most of these deaths are tragically due to suicide, and too many deaths are a result of preventable accidents. Something must be done to better protect our state’s youth and prevent these accidental shootings and senseless deaths.”
The bill defines a child’s possession of a firearm to include the negligent or intentional act of a firearm owner leaving a gun unsecured and accessible for a child to take, obtain, or possess.
“Oklahomans love their guns, hunting and recreational shooting, but we must do better to make sure children don’t have easy access or unsupervised use of firearms,” Boren said. “My bill will protect Oklahomans’ right to take their kids hunting or let them attend classes to properly teach them how to use guns, while making it illegal to leave guns where children can use them without supervision.”
There have been at least 36 unintentional shootings by children that resulted in 11 deaths and 26 injuries in Oklahoma since 2015, according to Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit advocacy group that tracks unintentional shootings by children in the U.S. Nationally, in 2021, there were at least 342 unintentional shootings by children, resulting in 141 deaths and 219 injuries. Gun deaths in Oklahoma increased 29% from 2010 to 2019, compared to 17% nationally.
Sen. Boren: (405) 521-5553 or Mary.Boren@oksenate.gov