A tragedy was narrowly avoided this week when a 2-year-old boy in Maine grabbed a handgun off of a nightstand in a home in West Bath and fired it.
The toddler fired a single bullet from the gun that went through the boy’s mother’s leg, according to Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry. His father sustained a minor injury to the back of his head, while the toddler was injured from the gun recoiling.
A three-week-old baby was also in the room at the time, but it was unharmed. The baby is now in the custody of a grandparent.
“As tragic as this situation is, it clearly, could have been must worse,” Merry said during an interview Wednesday with NBC affiliate NEWS CENTER Maine.
Merry’s office is now investigating the circumstances behind the incident and is working with the area's district attorney to determine if there will be charges filed.
Prior to the incident, some lawmakers had already proposed a law that would, if passed, make it a specific crime in Maine to leave a loaded gun in a place where a child is likely to gain access to it and the child uses it. Under the bill, that would be considered child endangerment.
A number of Maine Democrats, including Maine Speaker of the House Ryan Fecteau, support the measure.
“It’s infuriating to think any child, especially a 2-year-old, would have access to a firearm. This is not responsible gun ownership,” said Fecteau in a tweet on Thursday.
Meanwhile, a group called Gun Owners of Maine has marked the legislation in red as “anti-gun” on its website.
Asked if Maine Gov. Janet Mills was aware of the proposed legislation and if she would sign it, a representative did not immediately respond.
On Thursday, NECN and NBC10 Boston visited the home where the gun was fired. No one there at the time wished to comment on what happened