A Florida couple was arrested after a 4-year-old child in their care accidentally shot off his ring finger with a .40-caliber handgun on Sunday, according to Lake County Sheriff's deputies.
As stated in a police report, the child told deputies that he had taken the gun from in between couch cushions, where he had seen an adult leave it the night before. The boy reportedly took the gun outside, "pulled the trigger" and "accidentally" shot himself. The child's entire finger had to be amputated at an area hospital.
NBC affiliate WESH reports that the child is now in the custody of the state Department of Children and Families and will be placed in emergency foster care while he recovers.
"The incident, in addition to other concerns, led to the boy's removal," DCF spokeswoman Carrie Hoeppner said in a statement obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.
Donald Greeson, 40, faces multiple charges including drug and weapons-related counts in addition to child neglect. He is a convicted felon, and under Florida law, it is unlawful for him to have possession of a firearm. Tracy Greeson, 34, faces child neglect charges.
Deputies who searched the house said in their report that they found marijuana, prescription pills and drug paraphernalia within reach of the child. Donald Greeson reportedly told police that he had gotten high the day of the incident.
The family had shared a trailer home in Altoona, Fla., with a friend. In an interview with WESH, the roommate, who did not want to be identified, told the station that the Greesons had appeared to be attentive parents.
On May 1, an Arizona 3-year-old accidentally shot and killed himself with a gun that belonged to his grandmother, a methamphetamine user.
On May 7, a 3-year-old in Tampa, Fla., fatally shot himself with a gun belonging to his uncle. The Tampa Bay Times reported that the child found the gun in a backpack in a room that he shared with his uncle.
In April, a 5-year-old in Kentucky shot and killed his 2-year-old sister with a gun that is marketed to children.
The National Rifle Association advocates safe storage of firearms, "particularly when housed with children." However, the organization opposes legislation requiring secure storage of guns on grounds that it is not the government's role to mandate such a requirement.