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Fatal gun accidents spike over the holidays

There are few things as strikingly tragic as a death during the holiday season, but a new report shows that this is far too common. When looking at gun accidents, the report found that fatal accidents tend to climb over the holidays.

In the last two years, there were 59 injuries from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day. There were also 32 deadly, unintentional shootings in that same time period. The most accidents occurred on New Year’s Day itself.

Though anyone can be victimized by an unintentional shooting, the study did find some trends. For example, the median age of those who were shot was 19. About 50 percent of the injuries were self-inflicted. The majority of the people who were hurt or killed were young men. Most incidents also happened in the home.

That doesn’t mean these are always secluded incidents; there are often witnesses. For example, one 20-year-old man was “playing” with a gun on New Year’s Eve. Two friends were in his bedroom with him at the time, as was his girlfriend. Despite the day, reports showed that alcohol wasn’t a factor. The County Coroner said they were simply “clowning around” and the young man was accidentally shot and killed.

The report also noted that 16 people were hurt and three were killed when people fired guns into the air as they were celebrating the New Year.

In about half of the cases, other people pulled the trigger when victims were injured or killed. Even if it was an accident, families may want to know their rights to compensation for a wrongful death, helping to cover funeral costs, burial costs, lost wages, and more.

Source: USA Today, “This is the season for gun accidents. Deaths spike during the holidays.,” Ryan J. Foley and Meghan Hoyer, Dec. 21, 2016