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41 accidental shootings reported in Tennessee so far in 2016

(WZTV).JPG

A mid-state dad is recovering after his son accidentally shot him.

The Rutherford county sheriff's office says a bullet struck the man in the leg Thursday on Lowe Road. Lifelfight flew him to Vanderbilt.

Rutherford County detectives say the rifle discharged as the boy worked on it and a round was left inside.

Sgt. Dan Goodwin says "it is absolutely an accident," but some feel these accidents are preventable.

Beth Joslin Roth isn't a victim of guns, but her young daughter helped point her in a new life direction after the Sandy Hook shooting.

On Christmas she wrote a letter:

"it said, dear Santa please send lots of toys of mine to all the kids in Connecticut that died. I wish the gunman would've thought about how sad everyone is and the kids parents are seeing all the presents under the tree that no one will open."

"I knew I had to do something," Roth said.

Years later, Roth works closely with advocacy and gun safety groups like Everytown. She formed a local non-profit: The Safe Tennessee Project.

The goal isn't to take guns away, but make them safer.

Roth says a Nashville 18-year-old with everything to live for died on Sunday.

"Scholarship awaiting him at college, they were at a friend's house handling a gun they thought was unloaded," Roth said.

From a 2-year-old shooting herself earlier this month, to a boy accidentally shooting his dad in Rutherford County on Thursday, the circumstances vary, but Roth says "the common denominator in all these shootings is carelessness with firearms. We began to notice the frequency of unintentional shootings here in Tennessee. With the shooting this afternoon we've surpassed the total number of accidental shootings of adults in all of 2015."

There's 41 accidental shootings in the state to date, compared to a total of 51 in all of last year.

Safe Tennessee Project tracks all unintentional shootings in the state with a tracker and fully searchable database.

"Terribly sad that we have to have it," Roth said. "It's gut wrenching, we just want to educate people on all levels about gun safety. A gun should always be treated as if it's loaded. "

Rutherford County detectives add that you should always make sure guns are empty and never touch the trigger while cleaning or working on them.

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