While I understand the argument that people keep loaded guns within reach at their home or on their person for safety, I would argue that doing so is going to put you and your loved ones in MORE danger - especially for an accidental shooting to occur.
The following was in the Kenosha News today:
Publication:Kenosha News; Date:Nov 30, 2007
Boy, 3, finds gun, then kills himself; Weapon reportedly taken from nightstand
BY MARK HORNICKEL
A 3-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed himself Thursday morning after apparently finding a gun in a nightstand. Kenosha police were called about 9:23 a.m. to the home of Michael and Jessica Lesnick, 6019 55th St., where the boy had suffered a single gunshot wound to his chest. He was taken to St. Catherine’s Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, police Sgt. Eric Larsen said. Police identified the boy as Joshua Lesnick. Larsen said Joshua was at the single-family, two-story home with his 33-year-old mother and 5-year-old brother. Joshua’s father was at work. The mother reportedly was in a second-floor bathroom when she heard a single gunshot, Larsen said. She then went to the couple’s bedroom and saw Joshua lying on the floor.
Police said Joshua had found the family-owned .40-caliber semi-automatic gun in a nightstand in the bedroom. The 5-year-old was on the home’s first floor at the time, Larsen said. Larsen said the shooting remains under investigation, and no charges have been filed. Larsen urged parents and gun owners to be sure their guns are always locked and hidden from children.
“Any time there’s a gun in the house, parents should be aware that they should be kept locked up, separate from ammunition,” he said. “Ammunition should be locked up and the key should be kept where children cannot find it.”
A review of Kenosha News archives showed the last accidental shooting involving children in Kenosha County occurred in May 1999. According to Kenosha News stories a 13-year-old boy shot his 12-yearold classmate in the chest with a 9mm semi-automatic handgun inside the suspect’s Pleasant Prairie home. The suspect reportedly told officers he thought the handgun was unloaded because the magazine had been removed. However, there was a bullet in the chamber. The suspect also said he had played with the guns during the previous four months and showed the guns to friends. He was later sentenced to one year of probation.
While my heart goes out to the family, the question begs to be asked: why is a loaded handgun accessible to a child? Kids are curious - they open things, they touch things, they play with things they're not supposed to...and while I don't want to go all typical Democrat here and say take away the guns I have to wonder what the need is to have a loaded hand gun in your home.
I've decided that I'll save my rant about how easily accessible guns are and how I do believe we need to have better gun control laws (especially with the recent decision by the Supreme Court to hear Heller V. District of Columbia which deals with local gun control laws being deemed unconstitutional by the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit).
What I do want to make clear is that, having a loaded gun readily accessible makes it easier for death or severe injury to occur in domestic violence situations or accidentally - it's scary to think about what people can do acting on impulse without a weapon - mixing a loaded gun into an already unstable situation is nothing but trouble. And, it's even more concerning when children are involved.
Domestic Violence situations aside (something else I can talk about for days), ensuring that people know how to store their guns safely so that there are less accidents is something that I feel very strongly about.
Organizations like the Million Mom March are to be congratulated for their efforts to educate parents and the public about the dangers of keeping firearms in the home and encouraging people to take steps to ensure that guns are safely stored locked and unloaded with ammunition stored separately so that accidents such as the one mentioned don't happen - or at least happen less frequently. But they should not be the only ones out there talking about how important this is.
One of the missions the Million Mom March has in coordination with the Brady Campaign is to ensure that all new handguns are childproof by 2015. While the Million Mom March is looking at federal legislation, in the state of Wisconsin, there is currently no requirement that guns be sold with child-safety locks - which could have prevented an accident like the above mentioned.
When these child-safety locks can cost as little as $10 why wouldn't people want to put that on their guns - and further more, why shouldn't it be mandatory? Hmm...legislation to think about....