The happiest of seasons is also among the deadliest. An analysis by the Associated Press and the USA Today Network shows unintentional shootings spike in the U.S. during the holidays. 

  • Analysis shows accidental shootings spike during the holidays
  • 32 people killed, 59 injured over past two years from Dec. 24 - Jan 1
  • Victims mostly young males and mostly self-inflicted shootings 

The analysis determined that 32 people were killed nationwide and 59 injured over the past two years from Christmas Eve through New Year's Day -- which is the most likely day for accidental shootings each year. 

The victims were mostly male and young, with a median age of 19. Nearly half the shootings were self-inflicted, and most occurred in their own homes.

Families who lost loved ones to these types of accidents are urging others to be aware of the heightened seasonal risk and take precautions to prevent unnecessary gun deaths. 

Tezlar Wayne Ross, 20, from South Carolina, accidentally killed himself while playing with a handgun at his home on New Year's Eve, according to AP. 

A 13-year-old boy lost his life when he was accidentally shot by his friend who was playing around with a gun, AP reported. Ashlyn Melton said Dec. 30 will be the fifth anniversary of the death of her son, Noah Daigle. 

Melton urges parents to be "extra careful" to secure guns from visiting children and to ask others about their gun safety practices. 

The AP and USA Today Network looked at holiday shootings after an earlier investigation found that accidental shootings involving children happen far more often than federal government statistics show. 

Based on incidents compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, they found that more than 320 minors were killed by unintentional shootings over a 2½ year period that ended June 30.

Several factors contribute to the increase:

  • Children and teenagers are out of school for the holidays and have access to unsecured guns at their homes and those of relatives and friends.
  • Adults are drinking alcohol and inattentive to gun safety or their children.
  • New guns are given and received as gifts in the tens of thousands.
  • It's a popular time of year for hunting.

For those who have lost loved ones in holiday shootings, the season is never again the same.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.