OAKDALE, Minn. - Gun advocates are issuing an urgent reminder to parents following the accidental shooting of an Oakdale girl.
Police said her five year old brother shot her with a rifle Friday night.
Authorities believe the girl will recover but some are using this case to stress the importance of gun safety.
Jeff Byrne is a firearms safety instructor at his sporting goods store, Cabin Fever in Victoria.
He brought out a box of unspent gun shells and said, "We use this little display in our firearm safety class.
What do the shells have in common?
Byrne said, "All these shells, whether it's a shotgun shell, rifle or pistol, all came out of an unloaded firearm."
When he said 'unloaded,' he meant a firearm the owner thought was unloaded but was not.
Byrne said, "What we teach in all our firearm safety classes is you first open up and look inside of [the gun] to make sure there is nothing in there."
At Friday's shooting in a home on the 1800 block of Helena Road North in Oakdale, its unknown if the father knew a gun was loaded.
But Oakdale Police said dad and grandpa and a total of five children were home when the 5-year-old boy picked up a firearm and accidentally shot his 9-year-old sister in the upper chest.
According to Michelle Stark with Oakdale Police, as of Saturday afternoon, the girl remained in stable condition at Gillette Children's Hospital in Saint Paul, expected to recover from the gunshot wound.
Stark said the gun was a .22-caliber rifle and, "It's our understanding that a family member was repairing an item associated with the gun and it was left out."
Byrne said, "Never leave your guns unattended while you step away to grab the phone or do something else.
He said it's important to always store ammunition separate from firearms, and store guns with trigger locks or in a safe.
He said, "That way the kids don't grab them and we don't run into these situations."
Oakdale Police are investigating the shooting and looking into whether charges should be filed.
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