Alamance County deputies urge gun safety after 2 teens killed when guns accidentally fired

North Carolina news

ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Alamance County deputies are urging gun safety after two teens died in what their families called tragic accidents.

A 19-year-old in Alamance County and a 15-year-old in Greensboro died when guns accidentally fired. In both of these cases, the person who pulled the trigger is under 18 years old. 

The Alamance County Sheriff’s Office is urging people to properly handle and secure any guns.

“Children know how to pull a trigger whether it be a Nerf gun or a real gun,” Sgt. Jim Giannotti said. “They can’t always tell the difference in the real and the fake.”

Giannotti has taught gun safety for the past 12 years and told FOX8 handling a gun requires training and a sense of responsibility no matter the age.

“An understanding of knowing the target and what’s beyond it,” he said. “Knowing when that triggers pulled, you can’t pull that bullet back. Once that triggers pulled when the bullet stops whatever it hits, it hits. You don’t control it.” 

He tells his family and trainees to never point a gun in the direction of a person, to have your finger outside the trigger guard and to remember to lock and store your gun separate from ammunition unless it’s in a secure space. 

“You need to make sure that you’re the one that has access, and it’s difficult for someone else to get into it,” he said.

Triple check the firearm chamber to make sure it’s clear before placing it in a locked case.

“I can see directly through, and I visually and physically inspect the firearm,” he said.

Every new handgun comes with a lock for trigger safety.

“I can close the slide,” said Giannotti while installing the lock. “I’m unable to put a magazine in the magazine well.”  

Giannotti said education and training are key and refresher courses are encouraged.

“Shooting a firearm is a skill that is perishable,” he said. “Like when you take a foreign language in high school. Can you still speak the foreign language? It’s something to think about.” 

Giannotti recommends contacting your local sheriff’s office for a handgun lock. The devices are also available at local hunting stores or online.  

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