Two children were playing with toy guns over the weekend when one of them picked up a rifle and fatally shot the other one, Alaska State Troopers said Sunday. 

Troopers responded to Mountain Village, a town that’s home to roughly 600 people, around 1:45 a.m. Sunday after tribal and village police officers notified them of a deceased child, officials said. Investigators said two children had been playing inside with Nerf guns when one of them picked up a loaded rifle and pulled the trigger.

The child, who has not been publicly identified, was declared dead at the scene, authorities said. The State Medical Examiner’s Office asked for the juvenile’s remains to be sent to Anchorage for an autopsy.

“Due to the size of the community that this tragic event occurred and our requirement to protect juvenile information we will not be releasing the ages of those involved and are identifying them as young children,” John Dougherty with the Alaska Department of Public Safety said.

An adult was at the residence at the time of the shooting, but no charges will be filed in connection with the incident, Dougherty said.

Alaska State Troopers did not explicitly say whether the shooting was accidental but so far this year, there have been at least 229 unintentional shootings by children in the U.S., resulting in 81 deaths and 156 injuries, according to data analyzed by advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety. 

Unintentional shootings involving children are rare in Alaska. Everytown, which last updated its database on July 25, does not list any incidents in the state this year. There were no unintentional shootings in Alaska involving children last year or in 2020 either, according to Everytown data. 

Despite the low number of unintentional shootings involving children, both Everytown and the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence note Alaska has some of the weakest gun laws in the U.S. Alaska does not have a secure storage law, though state Rep. Ashley Carrick introduced a bill earlier this year that would require the secure storage of firearms when a child or prohibited person may be able to access them. The bill has not been passed.

Around 4.6 million minors in the U.S. live in homes with at least one loaded, unlocked firearm, according to Giffords data. Having a gun in a home is a major risk factor for a fatality for a child in that home, Dr. Eric Fleegler, a pediatric emergency physician and researcher with Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, said.

“A child who sees a gun, regardless of whether they recognize it as a toy versus an actual gun, does not think about the consequences, does not have a notion of the harm, does not have the sense of the damage they could be causing to themself or somebody else as they engage with it.” Fleegler said.