Teen shoots friend by accident with rifle in St. Paul home

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A 15-year-old accidentally shot his 16-year-old friend in the abdomen in a St. Paul home Monday night, according to media reports. Police said the shooter had been playing with the rifle when it went off, the Pioneer Press reports.

The mother of the boy who shot his friend took the victim to St. Joseph’s Hospital. He was taken later to Regions Hospital for surgery, and he is expected to make a full recovery, WCCO reports.

Everyone is cooperating in the case, police told WCCO. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, the mother could be charged with negligent gun storage, police say, WCCO reported.

The incident happened at about 7 p.m. Monday in the 900 block of West Nebraska Avenue.

The Children's Defense Fund in a 2011 report noted that accidental shootings involving children have decreased from 2001, when 5,091 were accidentally injured in a firearm incident, to 2009, when 3,587 were. In 2009, there were 114 accidental gun deaths of children, the defense fund reported.

Overall each year, about 7,500 U.S. children are hospitalized with gunshot wounds, according to an October report from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The report concluded that there was a "significant relationship" between household gun ownership and gunshot wounds occurring in the home.

The report also noted that household gun ownership and safety practices vary widely by state.

The New York Times earlier this year noted that fewer than 20 states have enacted laws that hold adults criminally liable if they fail to safely store guns in their home, enabling children to access the weapons.

The Times also found through an investigation that there are far more of accidental shooting incidents involving children than official records show. The Times, reviewing hundreds of child firearm death cases, found that accidental shootings occurred roughly twice as often as official records indicate, because of idiosyncrasies in how investigators classify such deaths.

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