ACCORDING TO AN UNRELIABLE source (tv “news”), about 3,000 — three THOUSAND — children are injured or killed each year in the U.S. by firearms.
Some of these children were murdered; they were in the wrong place at the wrong time or they had something someone wanted — a gold chain, a pair of expen$ive sneakers, or they angered someone who had access to a gun.
The death of a 13 year-old girl, allegedly at the hands of her brother and his friends, was the latest local victim.
According to tv “news” reports, the boys found and were “playing with” a gun. The report failed to mention the type weapon — pistol, rifle, shotgun, etc. — or the caliber/gauge.
How the boys got the weapon is the question now before both law enforcement and the dead girl’s parents.
Florida law is specific — and to the point — regarding firearm storage.
Safe storage of firearms required.
(1) A person who stores or leaves, on a premise under his or her control, a loaded firearm, as defined in s. 790.001, and who knows or reasonably should know that a minor is likely to gain access to the firearm without the lawful permission of the minor’s parent or the person having charge of the minor, or without the supervision required by law, shall keep the firearm in a securely locked box or container or in a location which a reasonable person would believe to be secure or shall secure it with a trigger lock, except when the person is carrying the firearm on his or her body or within such close proximity thereto that he or she can retrieve and use it as easily and quickly as if he or she carried it on his or her body.
(2) It is a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, if a person violates subsection (1) by failing to store or leave a firearm in the required manner and as a result thereof a minor gains access to the firearm, without the lawful permission of the minor’s parent or the person having charge of the minor, and possesses or exhibits it, without the supervision required by law:
(a) In a public place; or
(b) In a rude, careless, angry, or threatening manner in violation of s. 790.10.
This subsection does not apply if the minor obtains the firearm as a result of an unlawful entry by any person.
(3) As used in this act, the term “minor” means any person under the age of 16. (Emphasis added.)
When my grandchildren moved within frequent visiting distance, and — to be honest — at my daughter’s urging, I bought a small gun safe. I have seen my two-year-old grandsons climb and grab things they ought not touch. Putting the weapon “high and out-of-sight” may have sounded like a solution before I saw the boys in action, but I now realize it was foolish.
It’s relatively small — only 0.26 ft3, but it’s big enough to hold my revolver and #1 son’s police issue semi-auto with room to spare for ammo and passports and other “stuff.” It cost less than $60. I could have bought a smaller version — 0.12 ft3 — for a tad more than $45, both from a local retailer. There are less expensive gun safes for handguns — the place where I bought my safe offers a “1-Gun Key Lock Portable Handgun Safe” for less than $20.
Let’s consider that someone owns a rifle or shotgun — or several rifles and shotguns — but can’t/won’t afford a long gun gun safe.
While Florida law allows leaving an UNLOADED firearm where a minor can get to it, common sense tells us that if there’s a gun, there more than likely is ammunition for that gun someplace nearby. Unloaded guns kill more people accidently than “loaded” guns, so Florida’s law has a gaping loophole.
What to do? Simple: Lock up the ammunition. Preferably secured by a combination lock. Move the ammunition to a location far from the gun.
An unloaded gun is about useless during a “home invasion.” A loaded gun is dangerous with minors in the house.
Keep a loaded weapon in a gun safe with a combination lock in the bedroom — this assumes that a burglar will conveniently break in while you are in the bedroom. Combo locks eliminate the need to search for, and insert a key into the lock … in the dark.
When the children are old enough teach them gun safety and to shoot. This scrivener fired his first gun –- a single-shot .22 rifle — at age 6, and under strict supervision.
Why do so many children shoot others “accidently”?
Blame it on movies on tv, on videos, etc.
Kids see people get shot and, even if they die, in the next movie the actor — real or cartoon — is alive to fight again. In “war” movies, the good guys always win; the bad guys die. That’s not the case in real life.
We are a people who have no concept of how that piece of meat got to the supermarket — no idea what goes on at an abattoir — we have become a people removed from the realities of violent death.
Somehow — and I offer no suggestions on “how,” — we must be made to realize that death is final; there is no tomorrow for the victim.
PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.