A segment from the American reality police show, On Patrol: Live, shows security camera footage of a toddler in a diaper playing with a handgun outside an apartment. The incident was picked up by the Mediaite and Mail Online.
According to the On Patrol: Live episode, the incident occurred in Beech Grove, Indiana, outside the boy's father's apartment on Saturday.
On Patrol: Live footage shows the toddler wandering around the stairwell landing outside the apartment while waving the gun, pointing it at doors, down the stairs, and towards himself. The audio of the footage also captures clicking noises that seem to indicate the child repeatedly pulling the trigger.
"The officers [were saying] that the gun didn't appear to be chamber loaded. You can see the kid was clearly pulling the trigger, had it been chamber loaded, it could have been a horrific, horrific situation," On Patrol: Live host Sean Larkin said during the segment.
Guns in America. Stunning video from “On Patrol: Live”- Indiana toddler plays with real gun outside his home. (Video: Reelz) pic.twitter.com/UCi3GFqGFv— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) January 15, 2023
Fortunately, the officers were apparently correct, and at no point did the gun discharge. Neither was anyone injured. However, there are frequent incidents in the US where children obtain firearms and consequently injure or kill themselves or others.
"There's a point (in the video) where [the toddler is] holding [the gun] up, and it's... like he's pointing it at his own face," Larkin said. Shortly thereafter he added, "We hear these types of stories where kids come across these firearms, [and] horrific results do happen sometimes, but seeing it on video is definitely very different."
A police officer in the On Patrol: Live segment said that neighbors had called the police after seeing the child with a gun. When asked if he had a firearm, the father lied and said he did not. After another officer repeated the question while presenting him with the footage of the boy holding the gun, the father doubled down on his claim.
"I have never brought a gun in this house. If there is [a gun], it's my cousin's," the father said.
The father of the toddler didn’t even know his child was gone. Running around in the cold in a diaper with a loaded gun. He lied about having the gun and was arrested. Please get this poor baby proper care and never return him to this sperm donor. pic.twitter.com/y3d3iNFHVT— Skyleigh Heinen (@Sky_Lee_1) January 15, 2023
The police reported in the segment said that the father gave them permission to search the apartment for the gun. They then located it where it had been placed in the back of a drawer. The father was then promptly arrested.
The reality of guns in the US
The topic of firearms is still hotly debated in the US. Last year, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released data that showed firearm-related deaths as the leading cause of death among American children. This rate surpasses both car accidents and diseases.
Much of the American debate around gun violence is centered around the issue of assault rifles, such as the ArmaLite (AR) 15. However, handguns, such as the one the child featured in the On Patrol: Live segment acquired, arguably pose a bigger risk. According to 2022 Pew research, the majority of US gun murders and non-negligent manslaughters involved a handgun.
Twitter comments on the video footage expressed universal outrage from gun owners and non-gun owners alike. Many advocated that the father of the toddler receive the maximum penalty for the negligence involved in the child acquiring the weapon.