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“The boy told deputies he was walking and then tripped,” reports. “As the boy began to fall, he said he accidentally discharged the .22 pistol he was carrying. The father was hit once in the stomach. The father was airlifted to St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center with what appeared to be a non-life-threatening injury. Detectives investigating the incident say that all information and evidence gathered indicates the 15-year-old unintentionally fired the pistol. No charges are expected to be filed and police are urging the public to be aware of firearms safety and to follow it at all times.” Once again, we don’t know who actually owned the .22. Like father, like son, one imagines. In the sense that neither end of this gun knew WTF they were doing. My six-year-old knows not to walk with a loaded gun, and to keep the safety on and her finger off the trigger until she’s ready to fire. And, once again, why no charges? Here’s the relevant Idaho statute:


18-3312.Injuring another by careless handling and discharge of firearms. Any person who handles, uses or operates any firearm in a careless, reckless or negligent manner, or without due caution and circumspection, whereby the same is fired or discharged and maims, wounds or injures any other person or persons, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than six (6) months, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

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  1. I don't see how you can hold the father accountable for anything. A 15 year old is old enough to handle a gun. The mistake was the 15 year old carrying it with a round in the chamber. Perhaps the 15 year old loaded the chamber without the father's knowledge. I was trusted at 13 to walk with shotguns and rifles behind my father.

    As for charges, why would you? The father isn't pressing charges and what does the state get by punishing a 15 year old? The state would have to prove he was careless, which in the case of someone falling and a gun discharging, isn't cut and dry. Did the safety fail? Was it on? Is it careless to have a round in the chamber? (Of course not.) Prosecuting in this case would be a mistake.

  2. Legally, a parent is responsible for his child until that child reaches the age of majority.

    Carrying a loaded gun with your finger on the trigger is the definition of carelessness, IMHO.

    Punishment is a deterrent. Gun owners must know that actions have consequences; "it was an accident" is no excuse for lax safety.

    Hence the statute.

    • What if the kid says he had the safety on and his finger off the trigger? What if there was a failure with the mechanics of the gun? We don't have all the facts to jump to the conclusion someone should be charged. His finger may have been off the trigger, but as he fell clutched his hand out of reflex.

      The father was punished by a .22 in his belly and the kid lives the rest of his life knowing he shot his dad. I don't think throwing either in the clink for 6 months helps anyone.

      I'm not saying this wasn't preventable. I'm not saying they weren't irresponsible. I'm just saying pressing charges is probably not in the best interest of anyone.

  3. Robert who are you saying should be charged? If the 15 year old was carrying the gun he's the only one who could be charged under the statute you quoted.

    Legally, a parent is responsible for his child until that child reaches the age of majority.

    Robert I think you are confusing civil and criminal culpability here. If a 15 year old robs a liquor store they don't arrest Dad.

  4. It may also be that the DA determined that there was no deterrent effect in filing charges against the teen (which the parents would likely have to pay anyway since the teen is unlikely to have a grand laying around.) That would punish the dad who already has a bullet in his belly as punishment.

    In the case where the careless discharge of a firearm causes injury to someone in the same family, it may be that the DA has reckoned that if killing or injuring a family member is not deterrent enough, 6 months in jail is not likely to be a more effective deterrent.

    In the casea where the person harmed is not related to the shooter, the dynamics are a little different and I would imagine charges would be much more likely.

  5. What was a child who

    A: Does not know how to fall

    B: Has no idea about trigger control

    C: Both and and B

    doing with a loaded firearm in his hands? I understand it takes the parents to train the children trigger control and proper firearm safeties. However, seeing as it seems this did not happen, the parent is at fault for not teaching the child, and the child's fault for being stupid.

    Just my two cents worth

  6. A fine is not fine. The boy should have been required to attend some gun classes, but jail is not right if the victim(dad) doesn’t want to press charges. Fining a juvenile, means the parents have to pay That is not right either. Chalk it up to luck, the boy is very lucky it did not maim or kill his dad.


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