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'Safety Is Of The Utmost Importance:' Firearms Instructors Preach Responsibility And Safety For Gun Owners

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - After the accidental shooting death of a toddler in Monroeville on Friday, local firearms instructors are shining a light on the importance of gun safety.

Allegheny County Police said a 3-year-old girl was accidentally shot and killed by her 5-year-old sibling in Monroeville on Friday. Investigators said the gun was legally owned by one of the girl's parents. The medical examiner ruled it a homicide.

RELATED: 3-Year-Old Child Shot, Killed At Cambridge Square Apartments In Monroeville

So far, no charges have been filed.

"It's something that's could have been prevented, it's very sad," said Jody Salerno, the owner of Elite Firearms and Training.

"Safety is of the utmost importance when it comes to firearms," said Amy Hess, who is a training coordinator and firearms instructor at Elite Firearms and Training.

Salerno and Hess are both firearms instructors at Elite Firearms and Training in Bridgeville. They believe this shocking incident is a stark reminder of the importance of gun education and securing your firearms.

"It's a commitment to own a firearm. You also have a huge commitment to train yourself on how to use that and keep it secure and safe from unauthorized people or kids," Salerno said.

Salerno said it's important to keep guns locked up in your home or vehicle.

"Sticking a gun in a closet or a drawer, thinking that your kids don't know it's there is one of the biggest mistakes that parents make," she said.

According to a nonprofit organization called Everytown for Gun Safety, there were 371 unintentional shootings by children in the United States in 2020, with eight in Pennsylvania. The website also shows there have been 53 unintentional shootings by children in the U.S. in 2021, with four in Pennsylvania.

Salerno and Hess said kids of all ages should learn about firearms as an extra safety precaution. Elite Firearms and Training have a free, gun safety program for Pre-K through 4th grade. It's called Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Program. The next class will be on April 14 at 4 pm.

You can sign up on their website at this link.

"It is a stop, don't touch, run away, tell an adult. It's very important that these children understand that," Hess said.

"They're very curious, not talking to them about it is setting you up for failure with your children and firearms," Salerno said.

Elite Firearms and Training also offers a gun safety program for kids ages 10-15.

They encourage anyone who has a fear of guns or would like to learn more about gun safety, to contact them at 412-221-4900 or by visiting their website by following this link.

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