I understand that many Americans revere the 2nd Amendment more than they love life itself (maybe a bit of hyperbole, maybe not), but at what point does someone speak up on the issue of gun safety? It’s one thing to want to exercise your 2nd Amendment protected right to bear arms, but it’s an entirely different thing to do it safely.
Today, a middle school student killed a teacher and himself while wounding two other students at Sparks Middle School in Reno, Nevada. There have been other instances recently where kids have gotten their hands on a gun and either shot someone else or shot themselves. I’m not one to sing the gun control things, but at what point do we begin to demand that gun owners practice safety in conjunction with their ownership?
I have two girls under the age of 6 in my house. My oldest girl knows not to come anywhere near my guns, and I don’t think she would touch them if I’m not around. Even thinking that, my guns are always under lock and key when they’re in the house. The only time they’re not under lock and key is if they are on my person.
In the coming days, we will hear the calls for more gun control laws in the media. At the same time, we’ll likely hear the same chorus about the government trying to take people’s guns. What I want to hear from both camps, though, is how we can ensure the almost 300 million guns in circulation are kept in a manner that keeps them out of the hands of kids.
Nationally, guns still kill twice as many children and young people than cancer, five times as many than heart disease and 15 times more than infection, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.
When I hear of stories about a 4-year-old that gets their hands on a gun and shoots themselves, I feel bad for the parents losing a child. I don’t know how I could deal with such pain. I also feel anger in that someone would be careless enough to have a gun within the reach of a 4-year-old. Kids at that age don’t have a clue as to how dangerous or deadly a gun can be.
• On Christmas 2012, two children accidentally killed themselves with guns. Sincere Tymere Smith, 2, found his father’s weapon in their Conway, S.C., home and pulled the trigger, killing himself. His father was criminally charged. The same day in Memphis, Tenn., 10-year-old Alfreddie Gipson was fatally shot in the stomach after he and his 12-year-old brother found a gun under a mattress. A third brother, 15, had illegally purchased the weapon after being bullied at school.
• In February, another Memphis boy, 4-year-old Joshua Johnson, shot himself and died while playing with a handgun he found in a shoebox. His mother was sleeping nearby. She and her boyfriend were charged with reckless homicide and reckless endangerment, respectively. “This tragedy should be a wake-up call to all gun owners,” Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich said at a press conference. “It is your responsibility to make sure children can’t reach or use your guns.”
• About two weeks later and 700 miles away, Michael Easter, 3, found his father’s pistol on top of a dresser and accidentally shot himself in the family’s Liberty Township, Mich., home. The boy’s father works as a sheriff’s deputy.
• In Toms River, N.J., a 4-year-old boy shot and killed his 6-year-old neighbor Brandon Holt with an unsecured rifle in April. The shooter’s dad, Anthony Senatore, was arrested for leaving the gun accessible to children. He plans to contest the charges, but last month Brandon’s grieving parents, Ronald and Christine, also sued Senatore and his wife Melissa for “negligence and recklessness” that led to their son’s death.
One day soon Americans will have to come to terms with our issues with gun safety. There are no laws that can mandate a gun owner practice safe ownership, and there should be need for such laws to exist. I feel it is incumbent upon the gun owner to take the responsibility of safety right along with the right to bear arms. The right to free speech does not eliminate the repercussions of expressing that right, and the right to bear arms also comes with its own set of repercussions. Those who don’t take heed may end up being a victim of those repercussions due to actions of their own. Safety is paramount when handling guns, and that safety mindset should also carry over to the storage of those guns as well. That’s something that has to be almost instinctive, especially if you have kids anywhere near your weapons.
- Personal Gun Control: Safety Tips for You and Your Family (simplisafe.com)
- Father of 4-year-old boy who shot and killed 6-year-old Toms River neighbor is indicted (nj.com)
- Man believes he has lock on gun safety (newsnet5.com)
- Tragedy Has Struck Again in America. (rightorwrongtobeararms.wordpress.com)
- Another school shooting shifts the conversation to gun control, but for how long? (blogs.seattletimes.com)
- Here’s the Theory about Gun Control (gunningforreform.wordpress.com)
- 12-year-old boy shoots, kills family friend in shooting range accident caught on tape (VIDEO) (guns.com)