Sunday, April 14, 2013

Four Year Old Kills Six Year Old…

I am sickened by this story, which happened a few days ago, in Toms Rover New Jersey. Two little boys were outside playing. They were playing a shooting game and the four year old had a loaded rifle that was maybe just laying around, where it shouldn’t have been, in his home. The next thing you know, the six year old was shot in the head, rushed to the hospital and died. Another senseless shooting. Another child dead. Where does it end?

I’m sure the parents of the six year old never expected to bury their young son because of a fatal shooting in their own backyard. It’s incomprehensible even to me, as I read and listen to news reports. How does a four year old get his hands on a loaded rifle? Obviously, his parents, the owners of the gun, didn’t bother to lock it up or take other safety measures, like not having it loaded or maybe have the safety latch locked?  Now a child is dead, but it’s not their child, it’s a neighbor’s child. Two families will now and forever pay the price for someone’s gross negligence and lack of responsibility. Who is to blame? And how will they be punished?

In my opinion, like in the case of Adam Lanza, I blame the gun owners. People want the right to own guns, they demand it, it’s in the Constitution. But some people, who make the choice to buy and own guns, do not take the proper precautions and then tragedies like this one and so many others, happen. And what consequences will the four year old’s parents face? Will it be a slap on the wrist for simply failing to lock up their weapons or a more serious consequence? A six year old child is dead because they failed to do the right thing, but at least their Constitutional rights are still in tact.

Tragedies like these are the reason why I believe that gun owners should be held accountable for the crimes and killings committed with their guns, especially in cases where they fail to follow safety rules. It’s not just a matter of critically screening those who purchases guns. Every aspect of gun ownership has to be looked at. We have to prevent those who can purchase guns from buying them for someone else who would not pass the screening. Every gun purchased should be registered and the owner responsible for it’s use. Why aren’t all gun owners made to take classes in gun safety? Why are they allowed to get a license without having to demonstrate that they have to skill and experience necessary to use that weapon. The military doesn’t just hand soldiers guns, they vigorously train them in how to use them. Maybe we should adopt some military training standards for civilians?

People keep comparing gun “accidents” to car accidents, I don’t agree. Drivers are tested before being granted a license. There are laws and rules they must know before hand. There must demonstrate that they can safely operate a motor vehicle. Cars are used much more frequently than guns. Car accidents are going to happen more often. But cars are not created for the purpose of killing or harming anyone. Car accidents are covered by insurance. Why don’t gun owners have to have insurance in the event a gun misfires?  However, I will agree that, when it comes to driving under the influence, I do believe penalties should be much stiffer for drivers, even when no one gets hurt. They are often repeat offenders and will do it again if they just get a slap on the wrist.

Another story was reported the same week of another four year old shooting and killing a deputy sheriff’s wife. The deputy was showing off his prize gun collection when the child picked one up and fired it, accidentally killing the woman . Again, the gun was loaded and accessible to a child, and this was in the home of a law enforcement official. You would think that he would have been more responsible, but no.

I think the responsible thing for those who demand their Constitutional right to bare arms be protected is to start demanding all gun owners follow all safety rules and regulations and strict punishments for those who fail to follow them. I think they should insist on thorough background checks. I think they should demand all guns be made with high quality safety locks. I think they should demand stricter gun control laws. I think they should do everything within their power to ensure that the lives of the rest of us, those of us who choose not to own guns, are protected and safe from irresponsible gun owners. How about that? Instead of fighting to keep military assault weapons legal, how about some of that energy goes towards policing us from negligent gun owners?

How many guns is one child’s life worth? It just takes one gun, with one bullet, in one irresponsible gun owner’s home, falling into the wrong hands and a six year old is dead. Something to think about?

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