Responsible Gun Owner's 4-Year-Old Takes Loaded Gun To School
So far this year, there have been 181 unintentional shootings by children in the US, 77 of which ended in death. Last year, there were 392 unintentional shootings by children resulting in 163 deaths. Why? Well, frequently because their responsible gun owner parents responsibly left their loaded guns out where anyone could grab them, including young children.
That seems to be what happened this week when a four-year-old brought a loaded gun to John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Corpus Christi, Texas, resulting in a lockdown and the arrest of the child's 30-year-old father. The father has been charged with making a firearm accessible to a child and abandoning or endangering a child.
The father was booked Wednesday evening into the Nueces County Jail, and bond information wasn't immediately available, according to the jail. CNN couldn't immediately determine if he has a lawyer.
"While we do not believe that students and staff were in any kind of imminent danger, as a precaution the campus had increased police presence and maintained a higher level of security at the school until the Corpus Christi Police Department gave us an 'all clear' at 10:30 am," [School District Superintendent Conrado] Garcia wrote to parents.
District administrators and the superintendent "responded immediately and arrived on campus to assist with monitoring this lockdown," Garcia wrote in the letter.
Texas, surprisingly, actually has some of the most robust Child Access Prevention laws in the country, and is one of only six states that imposes criminal liability on parents whose children get hold of their weapons even if the child doesn't use it or cause injury.
Less surprising is the fact that they still lead the country in unintentional child shootings, having 18 so far this year and 32 last year. As "at least it's something?" that parents can actually be held criminally liable for their kids accessing their guns, one would have to imagine that the sort of person who wouldn't be incentivized to keep their loaded firearm locked up and away for fear their children may blow their heads off by accident probably also isn't too concerned about spending some time in prison. Either they're a complete sociopath or they just think it's not going to happen.
There are only three states with proactive laws that impose criminal liability simply for negligent storage — California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts, though it's likely that only kicks in after a child has gotten access to a gun. What would make sense would be to require gun owners with children to have locked storage and prove that their child cannot gain access. Or to at least make it as difficult to fire a gun as it is to open a bottle of Tylenol.
Sadly, this is not even the first time this has happened this week. A seven-year-old child in Cochise, Arizona, showed up for school on Monday with two guns and ammunition.
It is worth noting that we cannot legally bring real Kinder Surprise Eggs into the United States, whether or not we even know any toddlers who might choke on the toy prize inside. And hey! I get it. It's because 10 children have choked and died on those prizes since 1998 and why risk it? It's also worth noting that I have to import my goddamned sunscreen because the FDA has not approved any new sunscreen formulas since 1999, and I need my broad spectrum protection (for the record I use Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence, SPF 50 for face and European manufactured La Roche Posay Anthelios).
But I tried to find statistics on accidental child gun deaths in other countries (where Kinder Eggs and effective sunblock are legal) and you know what? I couldn't find a darn thing, because that's just not really a thing anywhere else but here. It's great that we're so careful when it comes to literally any other thing in the world, including sometimes to our own detriment, but how much does that even matter when clearly it's way too easy for a four-year-old to come to show and tell with a loaded gun?
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse