“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.
Unchambered shotgun is much safer around kids. It’s not all the equation, but it helps.
This is EXACTLY how I store a readily-available shotgun in my home. In order for a child to hurt someone with it, they would have to:
(1) escape adult supervision
(2) find the expertly hidden shotgun (not easy)
(3) get hold of it (not easy)
(4) slide the pump fully down and then back up into battery (not easy)
(5) aim (whether intentionally or unintentionally)
(6) pull the trigger
Oh, and all this on top of the fact that I would have to forget to put it in the gun safe which I normally do if young children are around.
No security is perfect. The best security involves many layers and many steps to circumvent. I think I have covered the bases in this example.
All good, but I would add, as a dad of 3, that my kids have been taught since they could understand what I’m saying to them how to deal with guns – what to do and what not to do. Parenting has more to do with this than anything.
This is my philosophy as well. Education is power. Firearms education removes the taboo and should also ingrain the idea of rule #1 don’t point a firearm at anything you aren’t willing to destroy.
Yep. My dad wasn’t a gun owner per say (just a ruger mkii) but my grandfather had quite the collection of arms. They weren’t “off-limits” but the consequences of touching, handling, or operating them without his, my grandmothers, or my fathers supervision were made crystal clear. Needless to say no one was ever shot, intentionally or accidentally.
The answer isn’t making children fear guns, but allow them to learn about them if they’re curious at the rate they’re capable of for their age and in the safest manner possible.
Before we go down the properly stored gun route, please consider this. All the cops know is that is where the known felon SAID he kept it.
The problem is that every kid in america knows how to pump a shotgun. They also know how to pull a trigger, and have a pretty good understanding of how to point a gun. Your layers 4, 5, and 6 don’t seem like much security to me. Your main barrier here is it being hidden so well that they never find it.
Word on the street is he goes by his middle name, “Richard”.
Add to it the daughter now has to live with this. How terrible.
Those lacking knowledge may be taught.
Stupid, however~cannot be fixed.
“Stupid is as stupid does”
“Tell me I’m wrong.”
Well, as long as you asked . . .
So what’s your point RF? Guns for everyone? I was lectured about the Baton Rouge cop shooting-somehow it didn’t matter if Sterling had a long rap sheet…I must be raciss.
I agree with Mr. Farago. The idea that your gun rights should be lost forever if you are convicted of any felony and even certain misdemeanor crimes is wrong-headed.
Should gun rights be revoked for a period of time or even indefinitely subject to periodic review by a judge? In some cases, that is perfectly reasonable. But if that penalty is imposed, it should be done by a judge who has full knowledge of the facts in evidence and not automatically by some legislation written by bureaucrats who have no knowledge of a particular case.
Now stupidity, as others have noted, is far more difficult of a problem to fix.
convicted of a violent felony, where one is proven at some point to not have control of anger, impulses or reasoned thinking to the point of assaulting, hurting, stealing, damaging an innocent person…sorry, you should not be trusted with a thing that only requires merely pointing at someone to get them to submit – and a twitch of an angry finger to bring real harm/death, no gun for this person. there are consequences to ones actions.
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Again, Ralph and I end up the voices crying in the wilderness, based our intimate connections with criminals (mine on prosecution, defense, judge, and appellate clerk) that there is NO sense in letting violent offenders have gun rights restored. These are inherently irresponsible people who don’t give a crap about anyone else. They don’t “pay their debt”, that’s not what the criminal justice system is about. It’s about PUNISHMENT !
Not only us, but if you read “The Founders’ Second Amendment” by Stephen Halbrook, you will see that the Founders never allowed convicted felons to bear arms, absent a full pardon and restoration of rights. Most states have case law that allows a felon to temporarily obtain a gun and use it to defend his or a 3rd party’s life from illegal force. This is sufficient. But they otherwise should forever be barred from “keeping and bearing” arms.
“if you read “The Founders’ Second Amendment” by Stephen Halbrook, you will see that the Founders never allowed convicted felons to bear arms, absent a full pardon and restoration of rights.”
Is it not also true that felony crimes were much a more limited array of acts in that time?
I had read that the original definition only included crimes for which one could be sentenced to death. (Supposedly why it was permitted to shoot fleeing felons)
These days, many felonies are so minor that people are shocked to discover that they have unknowingly committed them.
The focus of permanent disbarment should be on violent felons. The hell with them.
Nonviolent felons can have their rights restored after their sentence and any period of probation, but only after they make FULL RESTITUTION to their victims (if there were any). Until full restitution is made, those nonviolent felons have not paid their so-called “debt to society,” and any statement to the contrary is laughable.
+1 Ralph. And I have a non-violent grown son who is a convicted felon. While the hildebeast skates…
Ralph, I like your thinking. Nonviolent offenders deserve a second chance.
“These are inherently irresponsible people who don’t give a crap about anyone else.”
So, why are they on the loose? We have no ability to prevent a crippled, blind 12-year-old from obtaining a gun, even after all these gun control decades. We need to prevent recidivism, like absolutely and permanently.
Sorry Larry, but that”s not how the system works. It works by giving specific sentences for specific crimes. When you’ve done the time, it hoped you’ve learned your lesson. No on we can read minds. Since we left the philosophy of “kill ’em all for anything” ( and yes, in mid-18th century England, you could be hanged for stealing a loaf of bread, and by 1815, there were still 24 death penalty crimes) we assume people can learn. So we turn them out and make room for the next guy.
No state has the space, time, money or medical/psychological ability to predict a person’s propensity for future violence and keep them until they’re not violent. Especially when they return to the same neighborhood, idiot friends, and habits that put them in prison in the first place.
I think RF does himself a disservice arguing “firearms for felons” this way. I get the point, but I think the delivery comes across as crazy to average people.
The reason we don’t allow former felons firearms is because the justice system and felon reform is a farce, so a percentage of these former felons will still follow the felonious lifestyle. So we deny the entire group a enumerated right, based on the fear of that percentage.
If you believe in background checks for firearms, you must also admit that the justice system and felon reform is broken. There is no way around that. Otherwise why would you need the check?
The fact that we have background checks should terrify the average person. Saying we have a list of people we deem to dangerous to own a firearm, but are still allowed to roam free is crazy…if you believe those people are truly dangerous. And if they are truly dangerous, then what other things should we not allow them? Owning a car? Raising children? Buying gasoline? Owning businesses? Owning a house?
I can guarantee that most people that support background checks aren’t gunowners, and don’t want to be, and therefore don’t care about restrictions. However, if you had to get a background check for all those other things, they’d be up in arms because it would actually potentially affect them.
Winner… excluding the first sentence 😉
So if Billy hits Susy he could lose his right to drive his truck? Hmmm seems he’d behave! 🙂
“However, if you had to get a background check for all those other things, they’d be up in arms because it would actually potentially affect them.”
After government has enough power, a large portion of the People won’t have arms or the knowledge and will to use them effectively so it won’t matter much to TPTB. Once controllers consolidate their illegitimate privilege, there will be denials to all sorts of liberty.
So, his felony record involves convictions for non-crimes in 1989 and 1994, and he took a plea in an arson case in 2004? The last one of the three is the only one I care about.
Spot on. Again. 🙂
Who cares if punitive measures inspire responsibility? With a four time felon (convictions only, not even counting everything he’s gotten away with over the decades), responsibility isn’t even in the vocabulary. At that point, just throw him back in the hole for jaywalking.
Jeez, RF, you danced all around it so expertly, I finally got it. You are advocating that anyone sent to prison be FORCED to attend gun safety classes, as well as classes on all the ways you are going to be fucked if caught with a gun while prohibited! Brilliant! Make those classes every month, for the length of the sentence, even if the sentence is for life.
Damn we missed a chance to eliminate that entire gene pool in one shot, I mean two, if the girl had turned the gun on herself.
He’ll be out on parole in a few years so he can re-offend.