CHARLOTTE, NC (WJZY) - FOX 46 Charlotte delved into the issue of kids and gun safety, trying to understand how many of our children would touch a gun if they ran across one.
We've seen all too many cases where kids pick up weapons and shoot themselves or someone else, often times ending in tragedy.
3-year-old Savion Barrow from Rock Hill, SC, was one of those kids who died after he accidentally shot himself at his home in November 2015.
FOX 46 Charlotte teamed up with Mecklenburg County Sheriff Irwin Carmichael to put a group of kids to the test, with their parents watching on.
"So if you find a gun do you touch it? No. No, what should you do? Tell and adult…go tell an adult," Sheriff Carmichael said.
It's a message many children, ages 6 to 8, have heard before. And one Sheriff Carmichael stressed again.
Minutes earlier a group of kids were playing in FOX 46 Charlotte's conference room while they thought their parents were in a meeting.
Among the toys...was a gun hidden in the sofa...a prop that looked just like the real thing.
Osmund Marcellin, Ned Hibbard, Kelly Sayasithsena, Al Sullivan, Meagan Conley, and Carolina Panther Thomas Davis and his wife Kelly all watched their kids on FOX 46's hidden cameras - none of them thinking their child would point and pull the trigger.
But in the end...
"None of them ever questioned if it was real or not. I mean, it wasn't even was that real. They all just thought it was a toy," Sayasithsena said.
And four of the eight children pulled the trigger.
"To be honest I feel a little sick to my stomach."
"Madison actually played kind of an acting role here. Yes she sure did, my little actress. Yes, it's very disturbing. The handful of times she's been around guns and we've talked about it, just a little bit when we've been using them, but we're gonna have some serious conversation about gun safety now," Conley said.
Parents are now vowing to take action - especially after hearing their children pull the trigger.
"For me sitting here and witnessing this...It's one thing to see a kid actually pick the weapon up, it's a totally different story when you have audio and you can hear the sound of the trigger being pulled. You know there have been so many kids who have lost their lives you know, thinking that they were playing with a toy…you know not really knowing. What if this wasn't a test," Davis said.
It was the number one question as the children were reunited with their parents.
"It was real?" TJ said.
"I didn't think it was a real gun so I just had to, I just wanted to play with it," Madison said.
Outside of the studio another child explained to his mother how he determined it wasn't a real gun.
"So I knew it wasn't a real gun after I pulled the trigger..."
Sheriff Carmichael said parents have to teach their children: Don't touch the gun, get an adult.
He said parents have to teach the motto just as much as 'stop, drop, and roll'.
"And truly test them I mean, especially for someone who does have a gun in the home, the child knows where the gun is… test them," Sheriff Carmichael said.
Catch the Part 2 of FOX 46 Charlotte's investigation Thursday at 10 p.m.