COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A Columbus mother is behind bars Thursday evening after her 5-year-old son accidentally shot his one-and-a-half-year old brother Wednesday night.
That child survived the gunshot to his hand and was treated for non-life threatening injuries, but law enforcement say that when kids get their hands on a loaded gun, the outcome isn't always so bright.
"You have the right to bear arms, but you also have the responsibility of bearing those arms," said Major J.D. Hawk with the Columbus Police Department.
The gravity of that responsibility is now bearing down on one Columbus mother, 20-year-old Dakina Fortson, who is facing charges after an alleged un-secured gun sent her 19-month-old son to the hospital.
Officials say Fortson's five year old son got his hands on the weapon Wednesday night, then accidentally shot his toddler brother in the hand.
"Gun locks are very important for when guns are not in use, so some child doesn't accidentally pick it up and injure themselves or somebody else," said Hawk.
Columbus Police officers remind families across the valley about the importance of securing your gun , whether its through a free gun-lock like one issued through Project Child Safe, or keeping it unloaded in a hidden place out of reach.
While many people keep guns for emergency situations in the home, officers say there are options for securing your gun, while keeping it easily accessible.
"Some people will say, 'Well if I need my gun and it's locked up I can't use it,' [but] there are even more advanced systems where just your hand touching a lock box can open the gun so you have access," said Hawk.