Three children under four have died from accidental shootings in Virginia this month

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Two towns, two toddlers, one horrific day.

On Tuesday, police say a two-year-old Roanoke boy accidentally shot himself and died.

On the same day, a four-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his two-year-old brother in Louisa County near Charlottesville.

He thought the gun was a toy.

As did Demetrius Jefferson. The four-year-old shot and killed himself on May 7 in Henrico.

“If there’s a firearm in the home, the child is going to find it,” Robert Marcus told WAVY.com.

Marcus teaches safety classes at his gun shop, Bob’s Gun Shop, in Norfolk. He showed 10 On Your Side several ways to keep your guns locked and safe.

From large gun safes with large price tags (about $2,000), to a middle-of-the-road mini vault that you program with your own combination.

It costs about $125 for the least expensive safe. 

“Tried and true … gun locks fit practically every firearm in the world except lever action rifles.”

Those locks cost less than $13, but their value can be priceless in protecting children and gun owners.

Attorney George Neskis from the Decker Law Firm explained that in Virginia it’s against the law to recklessly leave a firearm so that it endangers the life of a child under 14. 

The crime is punishable by a fine of up to $500, however, “there are reported cases
under Virginia law where a child has been injured seriously because of an unsecured weapon and the parent has been prosecuted for felony child neglect,” according to Neskis. 

That can land you behind bars for up to 10 years, and “if a child dies because of an unsecured firearm that was recklessly left in a way where a child could have access to it, it may even support a manslaughter charge and that is obviously as serious as it comes.”

11 states now have laws addressing how guns must be specifically locked up and secured — Virginia is not one of those states.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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