Campaigners have called for legislation to make airgun owners liable for their misuse after an 18-month-old Birmigham boy was shot in the head.
Rashid Rullah is in a critical condition at Birmingham Children's Hospital after what police said appeared to be a "tragic accident" in Washwood Heath on Sunday.
The boy's grandfather said that Rashid was accidentally shot by his five-year-old sister when their father, who had been using the rifle for target practice, turned his back on the children to answer his mobile phone.
But the Gun Control Network (GCN) said such tragedies were "not merely 'accidents'," but were preventable incidents.
The organisation, which campaigns for tighter controls on guns of all kinds, called for legislation to register airguns and their owners, and make them liable for the misuse of their weapons. It said in a statement: "The tragic shooting of the toddler Rashid Rullah highlights once again the terrible consequences of the "boys' toys" culture surrounding airgun ownership.
"This culture results in easy access, casual regard and non-accountability. Because airguns are not treated as "real" weapons they are not thought worthy of registration or regulation. They are not taken seriously."
The GCN said that airguns are responsible for around half of all firearms offences and more than a quarter of all serious firearms injuries.
It said that children have picked up air weapons left lying around and the result has been that other children, often siblings or friends, have been killed, blinded or injured.
"The adults who own these guns are rarely held to account," the GCN said. "There is no law requiring them to store their weapons safely nor is there any record of ownership."
The father of 12-year-old Mitchel Picken, who was killed in 2006 as his friends played with an air weapon, also joined the call for stronger controls. Andrew Picken said: "The Government cannot hide behind recent changes in legislation, which failed to take the airgun problem seriously enough and make owners responsible for storing their weapons safely.
"Airguns and their owners could be registered, and they should be."
Labour MP Liam Byrne, whose Hodge Hill constituency includes Washwood Heath, said: "As a parent of three youngsters, I know that, beyond doubt, this is every parent's worst nightmare.
"No matter the circumstances, everyone's prayers and thoughts should be with little Rashid and his family. They will be going through absolute hell."
* New rules on airguns mean it is illegal to sell them to anyone younger than 18 years old. The rules, which came into effect last October, also mean that the rifles can only be sold by registered firearms dealers.
There are some exceptions which allow people under the age of 17 to use an airgun, which fires projectiles using compressed air or gas, or a BB gun which is an air weapon designed to shoot small pellets. It is permitted if they are under the supervision of a person aged 21 or over, if they are on private land and have permission from the occupier or they are shooting as a member of an approved club in a shooting gallery.
Despite these exemptions it is still an offence for people aged 14 to 17 to carry an airgun or air ammunition in public place.
People between 14 and 17 are also banned from firing airgun pellets beyond the boundaries of private land on which they have permission to shoot. There are also laws that apply to adult users of the weapons. Most air weapons do not require the keeper to apply for a firearms certificate but they still fall under the control of the firearms legislation.
For example, it is an offence to shoot pet animals or wild birds and animals. It is also illegal, regardless of a person's age, to be in possession of an air weapon in a public place.
It is also against the law to have an air weapon with intent to damage property or with intent to endanger life.