A fresh incident of gun violence has rocked the United States. On the evening of 3 October 2015, an 11-year-old boy allegedly shot and killed 8-year-old girl over a dispute over a puppy. Police say the boy shot the girl, McKayla Dyer, who was his neighbour, after she refused to let him see her puppy. The boy allegedly fired his father’s 12-gauge shotgun from inside his home. He has been charged with first-degree murder as a juvenile.
This case raises fresh concerns over the spate of gun violence in the United States. According to the Gun Violence Archive, a not-for-profit organisation that compiles data on gun violence in the US, 163 children aged 11 years and under have been killed or injured in the US in gun violence this year. The following statistics are available:
- Total Number of Incidents 40,112
- Number of Deaths110,110
- Number of Injuries120,566
- Number of Children (age 0-11) Killed/Injured1559
- Number of Teens (age 12-17) Killed/Injured12,016
- Mass Shooting2265
- Officer Involved Shooting23,372
- Home Invasion21,717
- Defensive Use2916
- Accidental Shooting21,414
Gun violence incidents collected/validated from 1200+ sources daily – source links on each incident report.
1: Actual number of deaths and injuries
2: Number of INCIDENTS reported and verified
(Numbers on this table reflect a subset of all information
collected and will not add to 100% of incidents.)
In NSW (and all Australian jurisdictions) the age of criminal responsibility is 10-years-old: Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 s 5. For children aged 10-14, there is a rebuttable presumption that children are not criminally responsible, unless it can be shown (by the prosecution) that they can distinguish between right and wrong. This is a common law presumption referred to as doli incapax. All children under the age of 18 are dealt with in the Children’s Court, which has a range of powers aimed to the diversion of young offenders from the criminal justice system.
For more information about Firearms and the related charges in NSW, visit our Firearm offences page.
In Tennessee, there is no minimum age of criminal responsibility. Juveniles can be charged with ‘delinquency’, with the actual offence as the basis of the allegation. They can also be charged and tried as an adult, however the prosecution must prove lack of mental illness and that the child is ‘irredeemable’.
The White House has reportedly indicated that it is considering using ‘executive action’ to curb gun violence in the United States, but has not provided any details.
Image credit: BBC
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