“A father whose daughter found a loaded shotgun in his unlocked bedroom closet and fatally shot her brother was found not guilty of second-degree murder last week,” mlive.com reports. “But Christopher Head, 45, of Detroit, was convicted of manslaughter, and could serve up to 15 years on that charge alone. As a fourth-offense habitual felon, he could face an even lengthier prison sentence.”
A habitual felon who was careless about storing his loaded, illegally possessed shotgun, resulting in death? Who saw that one coming? Here’s part of Mr. Head’s rap sheet:
Head pleaded no contest to extortion and aggravated stalking and had an arson charge dismissed in 2006, according to Wayne County online records. He was found guilty of illegally carrying a concealed pistol in 1989 and cocaine possession in 1994.
Despite the predictability of this firearms-related tragedy, I don’t think the inarguably irresponsible Mr. Head should have lost his gun rights when he was released from prison. Oh wait. Was he in prison before, or just another participant in a revolving door justice system? Anyway, I know what you’re thinking . . .
How could you possibly argue to restore felons’ gun rights when recidivism rates are sky-high and a little boy died! Screw your gun rights absolutism, you say. If lifelong firearms prohibition saves just one child’s life…. Well, guess what? Mr. Head did lose his gun rights and an innocent child still died.
Laws can’t create responsible gun owners. Not even laws that force Americans to take “gun safety” classes before they’re “allowed” to exercise their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Because A) you can’t fix stupid and B) criminals don’t tend to enroll.
By the same token, punitive laws have little effect on a gun owner’s ensuing level of responsibility. Mr. Head’s previous gun conviction did nothing to convince him to eschew firearms or at least store them safely.
In short, you can teach gun safety to some people some of the time, and you can punish bad ballistic behavior most of the time, but irresponsible gun owners — whether careless criminals or sloppy civilians — are born, not made. Tell me I’m wrong.