In two unrelated incidents last month in Colorado, two children died from accidental self-inflicted gunshot wounds. Police charged all four parents with various criminal offenses. Three of the four parents turned themselves over to police, but as of April 29th, one parent is still on the run.
Two children unintentionally shoot themselves —
The first incident happened in Denver, and we know little detail about the tragic case. What ABC News 7 reports is that a 3-year-old girl unintentionally shot herself with a handgun while inside a car. We don’t know if the parents or anyone else were in the vehicle when the girl shot herself, or anything about how the 3-year-old accessed the gun.
Police issued arrest warrants for both parents, so presumably, both were in the vehicle when the child shot herself. Police charged both of them with child abuse, causing death. The latest information I have is that on April 28th police arrested the mother, and the father is not in custody and is still on the run.
The second sad story took place at the family home on April 10th. Here, the mother left a handgun unsecured “in an area the children usually access.” A 6-year-old boy picked up the gun and unintentionally shot himself, resulting in his death. Police issued an arrest warrant for the mother, for child abuse causing death, and improper storage of a firearm. She turned herself over to the police.
The father was not home, nor did he even live there at the time of the incident. However, police believe that the husband “lied to investigators about his discussions with Mackall regarding the shooting and tampered with evidence of those conversations.” Police charged him with attempting to influence a public servant and tampering with physical evidence. The father also turned himself over to the police.
Why do I insist on writing about unintentional deaths —
The reason I continue to write about these news reports is that I believe it is important to remind us of the real consequences of negligently storing firearms. I feel these tragedies happen far too often and we can’t let them go unnoticed. If guns don’t kill people, then who is responsible when a child accessed a gun and unintentionally kills themself or someone else? Parents handle their children’s safety, and there is no way around it. Mistakes happen, but that doesn’t relieve the parent from responsibility.
Below are just a few stories to drive the point home.
We’ve written about how to select a safe, or quick access vault.
My heart breaks every time I hear one of these stories. As much as I believe we should hold parents accountable when a child dies because of their negligent storage, I don’t believe in “safe storage laws.” Where passed, these laws are usually misdemeanors and completely punitive, not preemptive. Lawmakers say these laws are necessary to hold parents accountable when a child accesses a gun. That just isn’t true as ever state has laws that cover negligent storage of a firearm as child neglect/endangerment.
Furthermore, I am not convinced that people would choose to store their gun safely just out of fear of a misdemeanor charge.
Access free firearms safety training —
There are fundamental safety practices that every gun owner needs to not only know, but understand how to apply them practically in everyday application. We put together this free safety course, Gun Safety, so every gun owner could access a thorough class on the topic.
If you feel this content is useful, please consider sharing it with your friends. Let’s do what we can to reduce these tragic stories and remind gun owners of the massive responsibilities that come with firearm ownership.