RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- As Raleigh Police continue to investigate Thursday's mass shooting, suspected to be carried out by a 15-year-old, advocates are pushing for safe storage of weapons.
"I'm pleading with all firearm owners in North Carolina and America to please secure your firearms immediately. We have suffered too much from these tragedies over the years," said Gerald Givens, President of the Raleigh-Apex branch of the NAACP, during a press conference last week.
According to The Gun Violence Archive, more than 1,300 people 17 years old and younger have died in shootings this year, with nearly 3,600 others injured.
"As we have seen it across the nation, it has now hit our community. There is a wake-up call. We cannot take this lightly. We must continue to sound the alarm that change must come," advocate Diana Powell said during the press conference.
A day prior to the shooting in Raleigh, ABC11 spoke with local activists about recent shootings involving teenagers, including in Orange County, Erwin, and Southern Pines, in which three victims younger than 18 years old had been killed.
Sunday, the Johnston County Sheriff's Office responded to an incident at a home in Benson, in which they said a 2-year-old climbed into his father's pick-up-truck, found a loaded gun, and fired it. The child died from his injuries at the hospital. Authorities said it appears to be an "unfortunate accident." Outside the home, loved ones asked for prayers and shared a GoFundMe link which has been set up to assist the family.
Prior to the Sunday shooting, Everytown for Gun Safety reported statewide there had been seven unintentional shootings involving children in 2022, resulting in two deaths and seven injuries. Nationally and statewide, the number of unintentional shootings, deaths, and injuries is on pace to fall in 2022 compared to 2021, with activists hoping that trend downward will continue.
Project ChildSafe partners with several law enforcement agencies across North Carolina, to provide a cable-style gun lock and safety instructions. To see which agencies participate, click here.