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“Police in northeastern Kentucky say a 2-year-old found a loaded gun in the center console of the family’s vehicle, then accidentally fired a single shot and died a short time later,” reports. “Ashland Police Department Maj. Todd Kelley says the toddler found the gun while a parent was securing a younger sibling into a child safety seat Saturday evening at Cheddar’s Casual Cafe in Ashland.” Unfortunately, IGOTD has its pick of parents who fail to secure their firearms, leading to tragedy. The standard TTAG message: either wear your handgun or put it in a safe or. . . that’s it. If you must leave a handgun in the car, make damn sure it’s in a safe (i.e. a locked glove box). But why would you leave your handgun behind? Now there’s a question . . .

In Kentucky, you can’t carry a loaded weapon into a bar. While there’s some debate about whether or not you can carry an unloaded weapon into a bar, the definition of a bar is well-defined. Ish. Any establishment that serves alcohol that derives more than 50 percent of its income from alcohol is considered a bar.

It seems pretty clear that Ashland’s Cheddar’s Casual Cafe is a restaurant, not a bar. At least to me. The waitstaff answering the phone wasn’t so sure. “It’s my understanding that you can’t carry in any restaurant that has a bar,” a member of the waitstaff misinformed me. The manager was only a little less vague. “I don’t think we have a ban on it. We would prefer it if you just leave it in the vehicle.”

I kid you not.

Here’s the thing: this horrific negligent discharge (on the parent’s part) highlights the possibility that gun control advocates who lobby for “gun free zones” are inadvertently creating a firearms safety problem that may result in more child deaths than if concealed carry permit holders were allowed to schlep their weapons anywhere that doesn’t specifically prohibit it.

I know it shouldn’t be that way. Gun owners are responsible for their firearms. Period. But the reality is that a gun is far safer in its owner’s holster than “loose” in a car—especially when it comes to child safety. In fact, you could say that if eliminating a gun-free zone saves just one child’s life, it’s worth it.

While we’re at it, unsecured firearms dramatically increase the possibility of theft, which arms criminals. And last but not least, gun-free zones disarm citizens, who may then become crime victims. In fact, a parking lot at night is a dangerous place for ANY citizen (relatively speaking). How many people are attacked just a few feet away from their gun, locked in their car because of a firearms prohibition?

Again, a responsible gun owner should carry their weapon at all times. Either that lock it away. Any solution that falls between these two points on the safety compass—leaving it in a table, stashing it in a car—is a lot less than ideal. And any law that increases sub-optimal gun storage is a bad law.

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  1. You’re right that the gun control advocates help create the problem. They do it so that most people who carry will eventually find it too awkward to arm-disarm-arm-… and just leave it at home. Until they can find out how to make legal carry go away, they’ll just make it too burdensome.

    And yes, the inconveniences of the law may very well have facilitated this IGOTD incident.

    There are some days when I have to disarm and rearm 3-4 extra times in a day because of “special places.” I do carry in a holster that can easily removed with the gun as I lock up my gun. But still the rules forcing me to disarm make me have to handle my gun a lot more times a day than I’d like.

    How can rules that force one to unnecessarily handle one’s gun more than is essential make us all safer? It’s the unnecessary handling of guns that almost always leads to the NDs.

  2. My cynical view on Gun-Free zones: They want victims because it, a) supports their “cause” and b) forces dependency on the “state”. Period! These dolts express good intentions when, in fact, they are evil!

  3. I know nothing about this case beyond the links provided, and I am not making any claims about what actually happened. However I have followed up on news stories with similar initial reports–in virtually every case where the initial story claims a toddler shot either himself or someone else, investigation discovers that someone else was holding the gun when it went off. Most triggers cannot be operated by most toddlers, either due to a safety or a double action trigger pull.

    I’m not disputing the irresponsible label.

  4. The “special places” Evan mentioned are a real problem. For instance, if I need to conduct business at the municipal courthouse and have a legal knife, I cannot go in. After the hot dog vendor who would hold weapons for people for a small charge moved, I was told by security I could hide the too dangerous, legal knife in the public park across the street and that others had done so.
    I don’t have a car but a motorcycle so I don’t have a lockable trunk parked on city property at a meter outside.
    If we did this right, there would be lockers where items that could not pass could be stored until leaving.
    I believe it would be a great idea to lock up weapons with a bike lock, in a transparent case, at the bike rack outside, to make a point. Maybe even make a bike frame weapons case.

    • Your motorcycle does not have a storage space under the seat? This is an amazingly safe spot since no one would ever think to try to pull off the seat of a motorcycle in hopes of finding valuables. And the seat is always locked on when it is secured on the bike.

  5. Nobody made this gun owner place a loaded, chambered weapon in his glove box. And with toddlers in the car, if you can imagine that. And you people blame this on gun regulations? Are you serious?

    It’s absurd to place the blame on gun restrictions. If this idiot can own a gun and handle it in this manner, if anything the restrictions aren’t strict enough. Can you guys hear yourselves? You are announcing to the public that you lack the intelligence and maturity to handle firearms safely under the existing laws. Ok, if you say so.

    • really, Magoober?

      Nobody here said anything even close to “this guy had a ND because of the laws”

      They looked at what happened to him, and applied it to their own lives. The folks that have posted here have stated their concern about similar situations, and how those situations can be better handled.

      Laws are not going to prevent stupid people from being stupid.

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