Here at TTAG, we really like to award the IGOTD prize to morons who do stupid things with guns, (preferably in clueless YouTube videos) and survive to learn from their experiences. Hopefully. Those almost-comic IGOTDs fuck up on camera, nodoby dies, and we watch and laugh and comment and it’s all good clean fun. This isn’t one of those feel-good IGOTD stories…
90 miles south of the scene of yesterday’s IGOTD, another child has died because another incomprehensibly stupid father left his children alone in a car with a loaded handgun.
Children, left alone, in a parked car with a loaded unsecured gun? Twice in four days?
What the fuck were these idiots thinking?
From the Tacoma News-Tribune:
Tacoma police say a 3-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed himself early today while his mother was inside a convenience store.
The child and his younger sister were in a car with their mother and her boyfriend, police spokesman Naveed Benjamin said.
The boyfriend stopped just before 12:30 a.m. to get gas at a station in the 5400 block of Tacoma Mall Boulevard, police reported. (The adults and children were riding in a minivan with Oregon plates but Benjamin said they lived in the area.)
The man told police that he put his loaded handgun under the driver’s side seat and got out to pump gas. The mother, meanwhile, got out of the car and went into the convenience store, police reported.
The siblings were inside the car. The boy got out of his car seat.
“He makes his way to the front to find this pistol,” Benjamin said.
The gun fired, striking the boy in the head. Paramedics took the boy to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Benjamin said.
The girl, believed to be about 1, was not injured.
Tacoma police detectives responded to the gas station and interviewed the mother and boyfriend. Both were later released.
Benjamin said the boyfriend had a concealed weapons permit and legally owned the gun that killed the boy.
Under state law, people with concealed weapons permits can have their weapons in the car with them but they either need to have them on their person or unloaded and in a locked container, Benjamin said.
“If you have a concealed weapon permit and you are traveling, the weapon has to be on you,” he said. “The key issue is to have control of your weapon.”
Tacoma police haven’t released why the man put his gun under the seat and why the adults and children were driving around after midnight.
The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office has not released the boy’s name.
The boy’s death is the third shooting of a child in recent weeks in western Washington.
The 7-year-old daughter of a Marysville police officer in Stanwood was shot on Saturday when a sibling found a gun and fired while the parents were out of their car. She died the next day.
On Feb. 22, an 8-year-old girl was critically wounded in a Bremerton classroom when a gun fired from the backpack of a 9-year-old boy as he put it on a desk.
“It’s another tragedy in a very short period of time,” Benjamin said.
It highlights the need for people to secure guns, he said.
“You can’t predict what children are going to do,” he said. “You need to unload and lock it up if you’re not carrying it.”
“And keep it out of the hands of children,” Benjamin said. “It’s really not that hard to practice firearm safety.”
Officer Benjamin is exactly right, and his words echo what I wrote just yesterday. It makes me sick to have to say this again, just one day later, after another child has died:
Every responsible shooter knows that if you’ve got children your guns must either be 1) locked in the safe or 2) secured on your hip.
No exceptions. No excuses. Ever.