WHEN WILL GUN OWNERS LEARN TO LOCK UP THEIR GUNS
Recent headlines reported a 15-year-old New Mexico teenager obtained a .22 caliber rifle from his parents’ closet and shot his mother in the head as she slept next to his younger brother. He then shot his younger brother, 9, and his two young sisters, 5 and 2. He reportedly then retrieved an AR-15 rifle from his parents’ closet and waited for his father to return home. He shot his father multiple times. In a reported statement to the police, he told the detective he reloaded the gun so “he could then drive to a populated area to murder more people.” The boy reportedly was annoyed with his mother and had been having homicidal and suicidal thoughts according to a probable cause statement.
This family lived in a rural area southwest of Albuquerque. The Associate Press reported a records check by the Children, Youth and Families Department indicated no trouble with the family and that the 15 year old had never been in trouble with the law.
Tragic killings like this can occur in families without guns. However, the number of such killings are few compared to those killings that have occurred using guns. We have represented kids who have killed parent(s) not using guns. A baseball bat was used in one of the cases. A very similar case occurred in East County, San Diego, CA. where a similarly aged son used a knife to kill his mother and father and stab his brother causing him to lose the function of his legs. A fourteen girl old girl recently bludgeoned her mother to death with a hammer in San Diego.
WHAT CAN PARENTS DO?
1. If you have guns in the home, lock them in a safe or something similarly secure that has a lock. Store ammunition in a separate secure site. Do not allow your children access to the guns without parental or other appropriate adult supervision. This means they cannot get the guns unless you yourselves physically remove them from their secure location.
2. Do not assume your child would never kill. I can assure you most of the parents of teen killers did not expect their kids could or would kill.
3. Just because your child may be familiar with guns, shoots them with his/her family, and knows how to act safely with them, do not assume that your child will never use a gun to unlawfully kill. We represented a 16-year-old girl who would shoot with her father in the hills and knew how to handle a .22 rifle. One morning she shot and killed 2 adults and wounded 8 kids and a police officer on a school playground across the street from her home. I can vouch for the fact that her father never believed his daughter would do that, but he did allow her to own and possess a .22 rifle with ammunition.
4. Do not allow your or anyone else’s family to be a statistic of gun violence due to your negligence.
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