This is not the first time Placer County Sheriff’s Deputy Ken Skogen has been named TTAG’s Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day (IGOTD). You may recall the circumstances surrounding his previous inclusion in our hall of shame. Here’s a more recent recap from sacbee.com: “About 5 p.m. on April 20, Skogen was cleaning two rifles in his garage in preparation for required range training the next day, according to authorities. His other weapons were in a nearby safe. Kalli was playing inside one of the cars parked in the garage, authorities said. Skogen opened the safe and turned to grab the rifles, which were resting against the side of his car . . .
In that ‘moment of inattention,’ the District Attorney’s Office said, Kalli walked up, reached into the safe and grabbed a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun. The toddler accidentally fired the gun and suffered a single gunshot to her side. She died later at UC Davis Medical Center.
The gun was not Skogen’s service weapon.
The news org also reports that Skogen will not be charged in connection with his daughter’s death. Assuming the facts of the case are as stated, fair enough. As the paper and TTAG commentators have pointed out, Skogen’s been a good cop. And the death of Skogen’s daughter far exceeds anything that the state could impose on the highly regarded law enforcement officer. BUT—
It’s one thing to not press charges in Kalli’s death, it’s quite another to excuse the behavior that led to her death.
There’s no getting around it: Skogen was an irresponsible gun owner. He kept a loaded .40 weapon within reach of a small child, without proper supervision. His lax firearms safety enabled that “moment of inattention” that led to tragedy.
The state law in this matter is unequivocal: firearms be stored in a manner that children cannot access them. The DA’s statement makes no mention of this fact. Instead this, via granitebaypt.com:
[Supervising deputy district attorney Karin] Bjork said the office’s main charge was to determine whether Skogen violated a law regarding negligent storage of firearms.
“Gross negligence is more than inattention, mistaken judgment or misadventure,” Bjork said. “After thoroughly reviewing all of the available facts, there is no evidence that Mr. Skogen acted in a grossly negligent manner.”
Bjork said the evidence showed that Skogen kept all of his firearms, including his work-issued weapons, stored in a locked gun safe in the garage.
So “some” negligence is OK? Even when it leads to an innocent person’s death? And the DA’s last statement is patently, ridiculously untrue.
My heart goes out to the Skogens. But the authorities missed an opportunity to help prevent further, similar tragedies; by failing to point out how this horrific negligent discharge could have been prevented.