Toddler Shoots Man in Head After Finding Gun Left Unsecured on Countertop

A man in Florida is in critical condition after being accidentally shot by a toddler who found a gun in his home, according to police in the city of Stuart in southern Florida.

Officers from the Stuart Police Department responded to an emergency call on Saturday and discovered the man was shot in the head by the child, whose exact age was not disclosed, the department confirmed in a Facebook post.

The male adult, whose name, age and relation to the toddler was not revealed, was airlifted to a local trauma center, according to police.

"After a thorough investigation conducted with the State Attorney's Office and the Stuart Police Department, it was determined that a toddler in the home accidently shot the male victim. Unfortunately, the loaded firearm was placed on a countertop that was within the child's reach unsecured," the department noted in the post.

"The Stuart Police Department would like to remind everyone to ALWAYS safely secure unattended firearms," the department warned.

Newsweek has contacted the Stuart Police Department for more information on the latest incident.

According to the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, "60 children 3 years of age or younger have accidently shot themselves or someone else as a result of an improperly stored firearm in 2020," the police department noted.

"Please do your part and secure firearms. It is the law, but more importantly it saves lives," the department added.

Every day over 100 people in the U.S. are killed by guns and 200 more are shot and wounded by guns. The country's gun homicide rate is 25 times higher than that reported in other developed countries, according to the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund.

More accidental shootings by children

In November, a 21-year-old mother in Iowa was shot by her 2-year-old son after leaving a gun unattended on a bedside table in their home in Dyersville. The mother was taken to a hospital in Dubuque before being airlifted to Iowa City with life-threatening injuries.

In October, a 9-year-old boy in Illinois died after accidentally shooting himself in the head with a gun he found in the bedroom of his Chicago home.

In September, a 2-year-old boy accidentally shot his 12-year-old cousin after finding a gun while playing at a house in Alabama. The child's cousin was rushed to hospital where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Record firearms sales in 2020

"During President [Donald] Trump's administration, the number of concealed handgun permits has soared to over 19.48 million—a 34 percent increase over 2016," according to a Crime Prevention Research Center report released in October.

Reasons suggested for the soaring firearms sales included uncertainty amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. presidential election and civil unrest seen in recent months across the country.

The report also noted 17 states "no longer provide data on all the people who are legally carrying a concealed handgun because people in those states no longer need a permit to carry."

Utah shooting range handgun January 2013
A handgun lays on a table at a shooting range in Salt Lake City, Utah in January 2013. A man in Florida was reported to be in critical condition after being accidentally shot by a toddler who found a gun on a counter at his home. George Frey/Getty Images