Washington Post, January 5, 1890. Nobody kept stats on these kinds of accidents back in the day, but children have been the primary victims of accidental firearm discharges for as long as guns have been around the home. It’s still a major cause of child mortality today: In 1999 there were 1776 gun deaths in the 0 through 17 age group and 3385 gun deaths in the 0 through 19 age group, though the gun lobby likes to downplay the carnage by classifying the 18 through 20 year-olds as adults. The problem is that it’s almost impossible to drill gun safety into a child’s head. You can condition them not to chase a ball into the street and to stay away from swimming pools, but show a kid a gun and he or she will point it at someone. It’s worth worrying about since one out of three American homeowners has a rod stashed somewhere in the house, and kids are awfully good at truffling out those secret household hiding places.