• Mon, Dec 10 2012

Father Accidentally Shoots And Kills His 7-Year-Old Son & More Gun Control Wouldn’t Have Prevented It

gun controlA young boy is dead after another tragic gun accident. The second child to lose their life in a matter of days, the 7-year-old was visiting a gun store with his dad in Pennsylvania. As the father was climbing into his car, he accidentally discharged his gun, and shot his own son in his chest. He said after that he had emptied the magazine, but didn’t realize a bullet was still in the chamber. While it would be easy to start preaching about gun control, I think this might be a time to step back and simply offer our condolences to a grieving family.

I am about as anti-gun as you can get. I have never and will never own a gun. My daughter is not permitted to play with toy guns. If it were up to me, which is obviously isn’t, guns would be permitted for police officers and soldiers and no one else. That’s the level of anti-gun we’re talking about here. And yet, I read this terrible story about a young boy’s death, and none of those familiar, “Can we please pass stricter gun laws?” laments came bubbling up.

This was not like an incident like over the weekend, when a 4-year-old boy was able to get his hands on a loaded gun and accidentally kill his 2-year-old brother. In that case, the parents left a loaded weapon out where their young children could find it and hurt themselves. In that case, there was pretty obvious negligence. I still feel horrible for that grieving family, but that situation presented a clear danger to the children living in the household.

In this circumstance, the father obviously attempted to follow safety procedures. He and his son weren’t out playing with loaded weapons. They were climbing into the car in a gun store parking lot. This was a tragic accident, pure and simple. Would it have happened if civilians weren’t allowed to carry guns? No. But that’s not a realistic proposal. I may not like the idea of weapons floating around for anyone to use, but that’s a reality of our country. This is not a time for bloviating. It’s a time for grieving.

There are hundreds of American citizens, many of them children, killed in accidental gun shootings every year. They are all tragedies. They are all lives taken from this world too soon. In some of these cases, it is obvious that the weapons involved had not been properly stored or kept out of the reach of children who do not understand their dangerous power. And in some cases, like this Pennsylvania family, it is just an accident. It is a horrific accident that this father will have to live with for the rest of his life.

There are plenty of situations that I think should inspire us to tackle stricter gun control. This isn’t one of them. This is just sad.

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  • chickadee

    Actually, the physics of this incident are very difficult to reconcile. How, exactly, does one accidentally point a handgun at a child’s chest while getting into the car? That aside, there is certainly parental neglect here, since the father neglected to check for a chambered round. He was not behaving responsibly, and while I feel sorry for him, the incident was completely preventable.

    We have shotguns, and my father had guns and taught us to shoot. My first husband had guns and we shot them at targets. We always–ALWAYS–assumed the gun was loaded, even when we knew it wasn’t. Gun safety classes emphasize this heavily, and they tell you never to point any gun–loaded or unloaded– at anything you don’t intend to kill.

    And stricter guns laws could have prevented both of these incidents. Were it illegal to keep handguns in the presence of or in the house where children under a certain age reside, these children would not have been shot.

  • Liz Grierson

    Confused here… those police and soldiers climb in and out of cars with loaded guns all day long, and they NEVER go off by themselves. Something is missing in this story.

  • AlbinoWino

    To me (as a person whose teenage brother was murdered with a gun) it’s not always about gun control but also about living in such a crazy gun culture. All I keep hearing from the NRA and others in big pro-gun groups is how having more guns, especially concealed carry permits in public areas like schools, churches, parks, is somehow going to make us safer. Sadly the more we put guns out new places, the more we are going to see incidents like this. There are countless accidental shootings in this country and it’s pretty disgusting that instead of learning from the tragedies whether they be mass shootings or accidental shootings, we just seem to arm ourselves more.

  • http://twitter.com/buzzbishop Buzz Bishop

    Yay guns. Honestly, why do you need one again? I mean WHY!!? WHY THE HELL DO YOU NEED A GUN UNLESS YOU WANT TO KILL SOMETHING!!?!???!?

    Blame the passive Canadian for being perplexed, but WHAT THE HELL!?

    • LindsayCross

      I hate guns. I don’t like gun culture. But the fact of the matter is that screaming that no one should have guns is not going to get anything done. That’s not going to happen in this country. We’ve learned that, because there have been plenty of tragedies that haven’t led to a single legislative victory. And I think that’s because all we’re saying is, “GUNS ARE BAD!”

      There are definitely things to talk about when it comes to making everyone who buys a gun take some form of safety class, like we do a car. We can talk about charging people who leave loaded guns within the reach of young children with child endangerment. (I think that should be a given, personally.) We can talk about making guns harder to get and not allowed in places like schools and churches and public parks.

      But when a really tragic accident happens, I don’t think yelling, “TAKE AWAY ALL THE GUNS,” does anyone much good.

    • Katia

      im canadian as well (half American, my American mother doesn’t like guns though)
      Why would you need a gun? To shoot someone who comes in your house and endangers your family. I don’t have one though.but that’s why you’d need one.

      If my husband was buying a gun though, I’d not have the kids go with him to the gun store. Not worth the risk

      My college friend taught ESL in Yemen. Apparently there are guns everywhere. You can pick up a gun at those market situations where you buy groceries. Everyone has a gun, but there are no gun fights

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jessica-Hughes/1504695227 Jessica Hughes

    When people cite the thousands a year killed with guns (many from the unnecessary drug war but that’s another story) I think they neglect to consider the results history has shown of exactly the world they claim to want: one in which only the government has guns. Now I am not saying there is some imminent revolution, and I am by nature a pacifist. While I cherish freedom I do not believe spilling blood for it is the answer, I believe education is the proper way of encouraging people to choose to live freely. BUT… Tally up all the massacres and drive-bys and accidental discharges in the past hundred years in the US and you won’t put a dent in the records held by nations like Nazi Germany (registered then confiscated all private guns) or the Soviet Union (ditto) or any other totalitarian regime which marched through an unarmed and impotent citizenry. Never say it can’t happen here. And Albino – ‘countless’ is off by about infinity, lol. Accidental shootings is around 20,000/yr and accidental death by shooting is around 1500. that’s about 4 people a day dying from accidental shootings which is terrible until you compare it with – say – cars which accidentally kill around TWENTY-THREE TIMES that many, or 93 people a day. I’ll turn in my shotgun and rifle when y’all are ready to turn in your far more deadly cars.