It’s 5 pm: Do you know where your guns are?

Within just the past week, Colorado has seen two terrible gun-related tragedies involving children. The worst part in all instances like these, is that they were wholly preventable. The first incident happened on December 23rd…

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57348063/cops-toddler-fired-shot-that-killed-5-year-old/

(CBS/AP) LAKEWOOD, Colo. – Lakewood police have arrested a man after a 5-year-old boy died in an accidental shooting, apparently at the hands of a 3-year-old child.

Police spokeswoman Bonnie Martin says the boy was found at an apartment complex with a gunshot wound to the chest Friday morning. He was transported to a hospital where he later died of his injuries.

Martin says it appears a 3-year-old fired the shot that killed the boy.

Police arrested a 23 year old man who was supposed to be watching the children. He has since admitted that the gun was his and that he left it by his bed.

The next incident happened just two days after Christmas:

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/30079971/detail.html

Authorities say a 5-year-old Colorado girl killed herself in an apparent accidental shooting Monday night after she found a handgun in her parents’ bedroom.

The girl, Ruth Joy Wilson, shot herself in the head at the family’s home in a remote part of northeast Fremont County, said Captain Don Pinover of the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office.

Not only are these horrible tragedies that will forever scar the surviving family members, they were both 100% preventable. It’s simple: If the gun is not on your person and under your control, it needs to be locked up. Period.

Two five-year-olds are dead within days of Christmas, all because two irresponsible gun owners couldn’t take 10 seconds to unload their guns. Tragic and stupid. If you own guns, lock ’em up when the kiddies are around.

comments

  1. avatar ST says:

    Education & Education.

    If the kids know that guns are not toys and understand the four rules at a young age such tragedies won’t happen. Locks have their place when the kids are VERY young, but there comes a time when even locks won’t deter a Curious George who googles “lockpicking” before tampering with the gunsafe while the owner’s away.

  2. avatar Martin Albright says:

    ST: What gun rules is a 3 year old capable of learning? I guess the same 3 year old who’s capable of picking locks is capable of learning proper gun handling techniques but I doubt that very many 3 year olds fall into that category.

    You also have to factor in the culture. Children nowadays are raised on various types of “shooter” games where the game controller is very likely to be some kind of gun. Kids simply get into the habit of picking up a gun and squeezing the trigger. Thinking that merely “educating” a 3 or 5 year old is going to undo hours and hours of cultural programming this is ludicrous.

    I’m not saying education isn’t important. I’m saying that before you even get to the stage of education, you have to be at the stage of being a responsible gun owner in the first place – which means keeping your gun locked up and unloaded when it’s not on your person.

    It’s like the old boiling-pot-on-the-stove situation. Sure, you can “train” your 3 or 5 year old not to knock the pot of boiling water onto their little heads, but it’s a lot easier and a lot smarter to just rotate the handle inwards so they can’t accidentally pull it down.

    You can’t “educate” a dead kid.

    1. avatar garynyer says:

      here we go again blaming video games, there is a level in a video game were you go into an airport with a M240 and mow down civilians. I’ve played that partculiar game about 5 times all the way through. Not once have i tried to buy a machine gun an kill hundreds of people. grow up and blame the real problem, parents not supervsing their weapons

      1. avatar CarlosT says:

        You know what’s funny about that game? They tell you in advance, before you’ve played anything at all, that there’s content that some people might find offensive and ask you if you’re going to be offended. You can skip the mission if you’re going to be offended and play it if you won’t. Of course, you can’t really know if you’re going to be offended until you know what the mission is. It’s the video game of being asked to promise to not get mad before someone tells you bad news.

        The storyline doesn’t make a lot of sense if you skip it, so I’m glad I played it, but I thought it was funny that they put that question out there and give you the choice before you have any information at all.

    2. avatar Jon says:

      Thank you for making the exact same point as the rest of us! Not only should we talk the talk of being responsible, but we need to do it. Keep guns locked and secured.

  3. avatar Tom says:

    Kids very young = guns locked as always.
    Kids in grades K-3 = kids educated.
    Kids in grades 3-6 = kids shooting, even if it is a BB gun or .22lr.

  4. avatar Ralph says:

    A gun must be secured against “unauthorized use,” even if it’s unloaded. Massachusetts requires that guns — loaded or unloaded — which are not carried by or under the direct control of an authorized person must be trigger-locked or kept in a safe. It’s one of the few Massachusetts gun laws that I can support.

    1. avatar BStacks says:

      Sounds like home invasion paradise

      1. avatar CarlosT says:

        Such laws would do nothing to prevent home carry, which is your best defense against home invasions.

  5. avatar Aharon says:

    RIP to the children, and peace to the 3-year old who pulled the trigger on one of the dead.

    1. avatar Martin Albright says:

      Indeed. You have to wonder if the families will ever enjoy another Christmas.

  6. avatar CarlosT says:

    Just when I was starting to get into guns, I took an Intro to Handguns class at a local range which covered the basics of handgun ownership, gun myths and facts, gun and self defense laws, how to hold a gun, stance, and a very brief range session. Basically the same kind of stuff as your average CCW course, from what I hear about them.

    Anyway, one of the points the instructor made was about preventing unauthorized access to your guns. That meant children and criminals. And that meant a safe of some kind bolted to the floor or wall. A really determined criminal with a lot of time and the proper tools is going to be able to get into a safe, but even a gun locker will keep a five-year-old away from guns, and keep a smash and grab artist from taking them. If you can afford to do more you should, but that was the minimum the responsible gun owner had to do.

  7. avatar irock350 says:

    When I found out that I would be a father I went out and bought two safes, one for the bedside table and a large gunsafe for the bedroom closet. Before the kid I had always kept my long guns in my closet, unloaded mags out and bolts open. In my bedside table I keep my 1911 with a mag in the magwell, but it is unchambered and the safety is on. Once I knew there would be a small child in my house full-time I took it upon myself to secure the arms. I was raised with firearms, but I could never get to them or the ammunition, even my personal 30-30 was locked up. I believe it is up to you to teach your children gun control, but before you can teach them you have to prevent access to them.

    1. avatar Ryan Finn says:

      Very well put irock. My guns are locked up tight if not on me, but I still make sure to reiterate to my 2 yr old every chance I can that she doesn’t touch guns ever without daddy. So far the education is working, she won’t even pick up a nerf gun without making sure its ok with me. Despite that, there’s no reason to not take the extra safety measure.

  8. avatar Bob says:

    In the first incident, where the 3 year old shot the 5 year old, the owner of the gun, a 23 year old adult, was visiting from Kansas. He has been arrested for his negligence.
    I will give him a little excuse, though. It is possible that this accident was caused by falling into old habits, in a new situation where those habits do not work anymore. There are probably no kids in his house in Kansas. He probably did the same thing he does every day at his home in Kansas, just following old habits. I can imagine that he probably knows very well that you can’t leave your gun unattended in a house with children, but he just forgot about that rule this one time. A habit can cause you to act automatically without thinking about what you are doing. Unfortunately, a habit that is perfectly OK in your routine situation can get you into big trouble when the situation changes.

    For the second shooting, the details are a little sparse in the news article . So I must assume that the second incident was caused by a reckless disregard for proper gun safety procedures. If the gun was a new thing in the house, then the incident couldn’t be caused by a break-from-routine error. If the gun had been in the home for some time, then reckless negligence is the only logical cause, because they should have established a routine of proper safety procedures. In other words, the lack of proper safety procedures in this house was probably “an accident waiting to happen”.

    1. avatar CarlosT says:

      There are no children in my home, but my guns are never available for unauthorized access. When I went and house sat for my brother, I took along my travel safe and locked up my gun there, too. No children in that house either. My gun is either in a safe, under my control, or under the control of someone I authorize. There are no other options.

      1. avatar Justin says:

        +1

        A gunvault travel case only costs $30.

    2. avatar Martin Albright says:

      I will give him a little excuse, though. It is possible that this accident was caused by falling into old habits, in a new situation where those habits do not work anymore.

      Not me. Not for a second will I excuse this. “Habits” are not an excuse and if I was the judge sentencing him I wouldn’t give him so much as a sliver of mercy because of “habit.”

      Keep in mind that there were two egregious failures on his part: The first one was leaving the gun, but the second one was leaving a 3 and a 5 year old unsupervised. You don’t do that. If he had only done one of those things, the 5 year old would still be alive. So he wasn’t irresponsible once, he was irresponsible twice.

      Remove the gun for a second. What if it wasn’t a gun – what if the 3 year old and the 5 year old were playing by the side of the pool, unsupervised, and the 3 year old pushed the 5 year old in? It’s still gross, criminal negligence. When kids are that young, you don’t leave them alone like that (especially together!)

  9. avatar Bryan says:

    I also have the Long Gun GUN VAULT. Its pretty nice for the price and weight. They don`t make it anymore. Anyone know why?

  10. avatar GS650G says:

    My 6 year old is scared to death of my guns. Someday she’ll learn to use them but for right now the formula works. I also keep the tools locked and the ammo separate. I also lock power tools in the garage, keep chemicals put away, and in general use common sense around the house. Plenty of things can hurt a child, not just the firearms.

  11. avatar Tom says:

    Ironically, when I was a small child, I was sent out to Grandparents Farm House and they had all sorts of guns and ammo in the staircase. I remember being told not to play with the guns as they could kill somone. I never really messed with them. However, when no one was around, I sometimes would look at them and the ammo. Hey, they just would not let me touch them, I could look all I wanted.

  12. avatar Ropingdown says:

    I remove the bolts from my hunting rifles and the barrel sets from my double guns (skeet, upland birds). I store them nearby, at my parents. (I’m 60, they’re 85, I have a key to their house…) I use only one magazine for defensive firearms and I keep them with me, period. If I’m not in control of the pistol, the magazine is elsewhere. I’m not particularly worried about theft because I have very good alarms and an extremely low-crime neighborhood. My ‘habits’ do not change when I travel. My defensive long gun is hidden and locked in a way I’d rather not describe, but it only takes ten or eleven seconds to access IF you have the code. I believe revolvers must always be unloaded if they are not under the physical control of the owner. I also think that pistols at home absolutely do not need to have a round chambered even when under our control, and the chamber should be cleared when we arrive home and the door is locked behind us. I cannot imagine a reason to do otherwise.

  13. avatar LC Judas says:

    I excuse no egregious negligence on the part of the people responsible for the deaths of those children.

    If you imagine you will deal with kids take the same precautions you would as though a felon were visiting your house.
    1. Secure all weapons.
    2. Hide all irreplaceable valuables.
    3. Don’t take your eyes off them.

    There’s no reason to pretend there’s a difference in this situation.

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