A 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.