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DSM Police Let Family Grieve

DES MOINES, Iowa (KCCI-TV)Des Moines police said they'll let the family grieve before they release any more information about what led to the shooting death of a 4-year-old girl Monday night.

Police said it appears to have been an accident.

I think that's what everybody always thinks, is that these things are never going to happen. And unfortunately these things do happen. It's a tragic, tragic event, said Lt. Brent Long with the Polk County Sheriffs Office.

Des Moines police are still putting together the details leading up to the shooting. It's unfortunately a situation all law enforcement agencies deal with.

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From time to time, when we go into houses for one reason or another, we will find firearms that are just left laying out, and it's a tragic situation. It's definitely something that could be avoided and we would definitely like to see something like this avoided again, said Long.

There is a law on the books that was designed to prevent these deadly accidents. It makes it illegal for a loaded gun to be accessible by a child under 14. If the law can't keep guns out of small hands, experts say there are plenty of safety measures that can.

Of course, make sure that you keep them secured, keep a trigger lock mechanism on them. Keep them in a box where children can't get to these things, said Long.

A variety of gun locks and gun safes are available at local gun stores. Mike Sporer is the owner of JLM Shooters Supply in Urbandale and said he'll even give gun locks away for free.

I think keeping them away from kids is, I wouldn't call it difficult, but kids are very curious. Rendering them inoperable for those children is a pretty simple, inexpensive task, said Sporer.

Aside from making the gun inoperable, Sporer says talking to kids is key.

I think probably educating those children, at a very early age, which is the approach that I take, is to show them how it works, explain to them how dangerous they can be, and they're not to touch it unless you're there, said Sporer.

Sporer said all new guns come with locks, and owners of used guns can call the manufacturer, who will then send them a new lock.

Des Moines police are expected to release more information in the shooting Wednesday.

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