For those of you who follow our posts, you know I try to advocate for gun safety as much as I can. It drives me crazy to read or hear about incidents where someone is injured by a negligent discharge. There’s just no reason for it to ever happen. Even more maddening are occasions where children are able to gain access to an unsecured firearm and injure themselves or others. It happened again last week.
On Thursday (2/1/18), a 12-year old girl in California brought a gun to school in her backpack. According to news sources, she dropped the bag and the gun fired. One adult and four students were injured, including one 15-year old boy who was shot in the head. Thankfully, he is expected to make a full recovery. While I am unclear on how one bullet struck five people, it is possible and not the point. The point is, she was able to obtain a firearm and get it into her school. It does not appear she intended to do harm, but she did.
The question which keeps coming back to my mind is how in the world was a 12-year old girl able to lay her hands on a handgun? Obviously, she didn’t go to a gun store and buy it, and I doubt most 12-year olds are well connected with the black market. I can only assume it belonged to a parent or guardian who left it unsecured in a place where she had access to it. They had a loaded gun where a child could get it, and didn’t miss it when she did. Unacceptable.
Friends, as responsible gun owners and parents, we have to do better. I understand having a firearm within easy reach. I have them in my home, too. If you have kids in your home, you have think about these things and prevent them from happening. You have to consider how to prevent unauthorized access while allowing adult access in an emergency. It can be difficult, but you just have no choice. In addition, you need to educate your kids. Teach them to never touch a gun without adult permission. Take them to the range and let them shoot so there’s no mystery to it. But it’s still on you, the adult, to do your best to prevent anyone from having access to your firearm.
For those of us who carry a gun every day and are around them regularly, it is easy to become complacent. Just this week, I came home and laid my handgun down in a place where I don’t normally put it. Over the course of the evening, I forgot that I hadn’t put it in its usual place. I didn’t realize my error until the next morning when I went to get it before leaving the house. It is a bad feeling to look for your gun and not find it where its supposed to be! But it is a reminder we must always be vigilant and to never become complacent when it comes to safety. It’s up to us, responsible gun owners, to be responsible and prevent these incidents from ever happening. We have to make this stop!