Today, I read an article on the Huffington Post about a 5 year old boy who shot his younger sister and had a reaction I’ve had reading similar stories. Ummm, will the parents be prosecuted for child neglect, reckless endangerment, or something along those lines?
Yeah, I know, people say that the parents have been punished enough because they lost one child at the hands of another. But according to gun enthusiasts, they are responsible and law-abiding. So in that case, they shouldn’t mind being prosecuted for falling short being responsible? Right?!?
Unfortunately, that’s not the conversation from supporters of stricter gun laws or gun owners and their lobbyists. While the Second Amendment extends the right to gun ownership, people don’t attach much of a responsibility to that right. It’s almost as if we’re all supposed to say, “Well, the parents weren’t gang members doing a drive by, so oops they left a loaded gun unsecured for children to accidentally shoot someone. These things happen, but they’re otherwise ‘good’ people. Let’s give them a pass.”
Nope, I’m not buying that. Parents can own guns…sure, but parents are expected to be responsible for protecting their children. Who has to worry about an intruder when mom and dad have FAILED to lock up loaded guns? In this case, the gun belonged to the 5 year old and “was kept in a corner and the family didn’t realize a shell was left inside it.” That child’s parents are responsible for preventing such an obvious hazard, yet they didn’t.
I’m not sure what the punishment should be in situations like this for gun owners who create opportunities for such accidents. That’s something we have to decide as a society, but ineligibility to own guns should be a start since these gun owners didn’t do their due diligence to secure their weapons. Even other gun owners should support this since any child including their own could be accidentally harmed or killed in a similar situation.
So, if the NRA and other gun lobbyists are going to wax poetic about the rights of gun owners, they need to demand that these gun owners be held responsible when they do not secure their weapons. And for liberals who want more laws to prevent gun violence, how about insisting the laws that are on the books be used to prosecute people who are not responsible gun owners.
Since these tragic stories never seem to cease, maybe punishing the owners of the guns used might get even more people to safely secure their guns.