It only takes seconds for a child to pick up a gun and kill someone

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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Nine Alabama, children were killed by accidental shootings this year.

It only takes seconds for a child to pick up a gun and kill someone.

According to GunViolenceArchive.org, nearly four thousand children under the age of seventeen have died, in 2017.

"It makes me very sad, and the blame is not on the children or on the gun, the blame is on the parents,” says Dan Mitchell.

Dan Mitchell is the owner of Dothan Gun Club where he's seen children of all ages handle guns responsibly.

"Dads bringing their sons, mothers bringing their daughters." Said Mitchell.

Children even compete in their monthly tactical competitions.

Dan says, "The youngest I’ve known so far is a seven year old little boy."

And safety is something they take very seriously.

"We brief all the new shooters on what the rules are, what the safety rules are and if you break a safety rule, you go home. There’s no playing around with the safety rules,"

At Trinity Defense LLC; people can take defensive pistol courses at Dothan Gun Club.

Instructors have extensive training in both Law Enforcement and the military.

But even with the knowledge of how to handle a gun safely, accidents can still happen.
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"I think the key word there is accident and most people’s lives are devastated that period before and after that accident." Says Dr. McCleod

For child psychiatrist Dr. Jerlyn C. McCleod, the pain is real--- an eight year old family member accidentally shot and killed his eleven year old brother, while "playing" with the family gun.

Dr. McCleod says, "They don’t realize the fascination that a child or adolescent has with the power of a gun in their home or if it’s a younger child, is understanding that it not a toy."

Dan Mitchell provided these four rules for everyone to go by to ensure safety:

1. All guns are always loaded. (Treat them so!)
2. Never point the gun at anything you are not willing to destroy.
3. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
4. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on your target and you have made the decision to shoot.