FATHER FACES PRISON SENTENCE FOR NEGLIGENT STORAGE OF HIS FIREARM
A 56-year-old father in San Diego, CA, is awaiting sentencing and is facing a possible seven year prison sentence after having pled guilty to two counts of felony child endangerment under circumstances likely to cause death or great bodily injury. A previously posted blog explains the facts of the case and the charges the father was facing.
Time and time again we regularly see stories in the news of minors getting possession of guns from their homes and committing senseless killings and/or injuring others. See my prior blogs “Who Should be Held Responsible for a 5-year old boy killing his 2 Year-Old Sister with his .22 Caliber Rifle”, “Ten Year Old Takes Semiautomatic to School”, “When Will Gun Owners Learn to Lock Up Their Guns.” and “Guns–One of the Leading Causes of Death of Children Under 18 in the United States, Part I and Part 2.” I have no reason to believe the parents of these minors knew or expected their sons or daughters would shoot someone or cause harm to others. The reality is that minors have an attraction to guns. If they get their hands on a gun they are going to want to point it, pull the trigger, and, in some cases, do harm to others or use them in self defense. It is not a defense that you had no idea your son or daughter would do such a thing and/or that they were trained in gun safety and knew better. Kids will be kids. Guns are an attractive nuisance. Given the right circumstances they, like adults, are capable of committing terrible crimes. You as a parent are required by law to safely secure any weapons you own or have in your possession and not permit your minor access to them.
Having your weapon under your pillow or in the night stand next to you is not safely securing your weapon. It is not a defense that you are in law enforcement. You should know better. In one of our blogs we talked about a three-year-old who got his hands on his police officer father’s service revolver and pulled the trigger. The bullet struck the father and rendered him a paraplegic.
BOTH PARENTS HAVE A DUTY TO PROTECT AND ENSURE THEIR WEAPONS ARE SECURELY STORED AND MINORS CANNOT ACCESS THEM WITHOUT PARENTAL SUPERVISION
The duty to make sure you are not endangering your child or another child falls upon both parents. It is not a defense that your husband or wife owns the gun/s and is responsible for safely storing them. It is not a defense that you or your husband or wife grew up with guns, took your kids to gun safety classes, and never dreamed they would hurt someone with a gun.
The charges the father in San Diego pled guilty to is a predictor of more similar prosecutions to come. The senseless gun violence will continue with regularity as long as parents don’t keep these dangerous weapons securely locked up and not allow minors access to the guns without parental supervision. Discuss gun safety with your minors. You may be responsible with your guns, but your minors friends and families may not be.