Friday, April 30, 2010

Firearm Ownership Requires Responsibility And Due Care When Children Are Near

It has literally only been a couple of days since a Detroit grandmother was sentenced to five years of probation for her conviction in the accidental death of her grandchild. So, it is really startling to learn that today's headlines from the local media have informed us that a two year-old girl is battling for her life in an area hospital after being shot in the head by her four year-old brother.

In the former incident, the four year-old child was being watched by her grandmother on December 10th of last year, when she came across a loaded firearm in a nightstand and killed herself.

In the aftermath of that shooting, I personally felt that there was a lot of grandstanding being done publicly in the media by the local Police Chief. After all, what possible sentence that could be meted out by the judicial system would be more painful than the thought of knowing that your carelessness led to your grandbaby's death?

Even a hard-core Second Amendment advocate can have a second opinion about a few things. In the aftermath of today's shooting, it is apparent that there are some gun owners who are not being responsible.

You would think that after all of the discussions surrounding the first case, folks would have gotten the message: being careless with a firearm in the home can lead to a child being seriously harmed or killed. At least two different levels government - the city and the county - implored area residents to pick up free gun locks and to be responsible with their guns.

It appears that after all of that activity, for at least the household of today's shooting incident, was for naught. In today's incident a two year-old is celebrating her second birthday in critical condition while her stunned four-old brother has been saddled with the gravity of having seriously injuring, if not killing, his younger sister.

Receiving the news of today's incident has me torn. Once side of me is actually empathetic to the parents of the children. One can only imagine what it would feel like to have one small child in critical condition while the other one is greatly saddened at what he has done in a game of fun that has turned tragically serious.

The other side of me is furious at the parents. How could they be so irresponsible with their firearms? On the most fundamental level of gun safety, whether you have taken a formal class in it or not, you know that you have an absolute obligation to keep those firearms out of the reach of small children. There is no excuse, especially, after the lenient verdict that was given in the first case.

This incident should be thoroughly investigated by the authorities to determine who owns the gun. Once that has been determined, that person should suffer the fullest possible penalty under the law. Only then, after someone has had "the book thrown at them," will the few irresponsible gun owners take their gun ownership obligations more seriously or make the decision to remove their guns from their home until they can be responsible.

End of rant.
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