Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, Sheriff Irwin Carmichael and a local TV news station recently tried an experiment to see how many children listened to warnings from adults about guns (video below).
A group of eight children ages 6 to 8 played in a conference room at WJZY, unaware their parents were watching them on a hidden camera.
A gun prop that looked just like a real gun was hidden in a sofa in the room.
None of the adults thought their children would point the gun at the other children in the room and pull the trigger, but half of them did.
"To be honest with you, I feel a little sick to my stomach," parent Kelly Sayasithsena said.
Sayasithsena's son confidently told her that he knew it was not real gun after he "pulled the trigger."
"It's very disturbing," added Meagan Conley, a mom. "The handful of times that 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."
Carolina Panther and father of one of the children who participated in the experiment Thomas Davis said: "It's one thing to see a kid actually pick the weapon up, but it's a totally different story when you have audio and you can hear the sound of the trigger being pulled. There have been so many kids who have lost their lives thinking that they were playing with a toy, not really knowing. What if this wasn't a test?"
Davis' son told his parents that the gun looked fake, but Davis' wife Kelly said, "It looked real to me."
"I didn't think it was a real gun so I just had to, I just wanted to play with it," Conley's young daughter Madison said.
The kids who didn't touch the gun said they were worried about getting in trouble.
After half of the children failed the test, Carmichael told the kids: "So if you find a gun do you touch it? No. what should you do? Go tell and adult."
He also had some advice for the parents: "Truly test them ... especially someone who does have a gun in the home, the child knows where the gun is, test them."
Osmund Marcellin, a dad, was considering buying a gun, but the experiment convinced him not to. He may also rid his home of toy guns so that his kids don't get confused.
There have been at least 23 toddler shootings in the U.S. in 2016, The Washington Post reported on May 1. In 18 of those shootings, the kids shot themselves and half of those children died. In the other five instances, the toddlers shot other people.
There have been at least 85 child, 17-years-old or younger, shootings in the U.S in 2016, according to the gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety.