“Police in northeastern Kentucky say a 2-year-old found a loaded gun in the center console of the family’s vehicle, then accidentally fired a single shot and died a short time later,” therepublic.com reports. “Ashland Police Department Maj. Todd Kelley says the toddler found the gun while a parent was securing a younger sibling into a child safety seat Saturday evening at Cheddar’s Casual Cafe in Ashland.” Unfortunately, IGOTD has its pick of parents who fail to secure their firearms, leading to tragedy. The standard TTAG message: either wear your handgun or put it in a safe or. . . that’s it. If you must leave a handgun in the car, make damn sure it’s in a safe (i.e. a locked glove box). But why would you leave your handgun behind? Now there’s a question . . .
In Kentucky, you can’t carry a loaded weapon into a bar. While there’s some debate about whether or not you can carry an unloaded weapon into a bar, the definition of a bar is well-defined. Ish. Any establishment that serves alcohol that derives more than 50 percent of its income from alcohol is considered a bar.
It seems pretty clear that Ashland’s Cheddar’s Casual Cafe is a restaurant, not a bar. At least to me. The waitstaff answering the phone wasn’t so sure. “It’s my understanding that you can’t carry in any restaurant that has a bar,” a member of the waitstaff misinformed me. The manager was only a little less vague. “I don’t think we have a ban on it. We would prefer it if you just leave it in the vehicle.”
I kid you not.
Here’s the thing: this horrific negligent discharge (on the parent’s part) highlights the possibility that gun control advocates who lobby for “gun free zones” are inadvertently creating a firearms safety problem that may result in more child deaths than if concealed carry permit holders were allowed to schlep their weapons anywhere that doesn’t specifically prohibit it.
I know it shouldn’t be that way. Gun owners are responsible for their firearms. Period. But the reality is that a gun is far safer in its owner’s holster than “loose” in a car—especially when it comes to child safety. In fact, you could say that if eliminating a gun-free zone saves just one child’s life, it’s worth it.
While we’re at it, unsecured firearms dramatically increase the possibility of theft, which arms criminals. And last but not least, gun-free zones disarm citizens, who may then become crime victims. In fact, a parking lot at night is a dangerous place for ANY citizen (relatively speaking). How many people are attacked just a few feet away from their gun, locked in their car because of a firearms prohibition?
Again, a responsible gun owner should carry their weapon at all times. Either that lock it away. Any solution that falls between these two points on the safety compass—leaving it in a table, stashing it in a car—is a lot less than ideal. And any law that increases sub-optimal gun storage is a bad law.