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7-year-old boy finds gun and kills little sister; mother arrested in Colorado

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Tragic. And avoidable, with common sense gun regulation.

Colorado law does not require a locking device to accompany the sale of a firearm, although federal law applies to handgun sales by dealers. Colorado also does not require firearm owners to lock their weapons, and Colorado’s child access prevention law is not as strong as the law in many other states.

https://lawcenter.giffords.org/safe-storage-in-colorado/

8 ( +10 / -2 )

*Colorado law does not require a locking device to accompany the sale of a firearm, although federal law applies to handgun sales by dealers. Colorado also does not require firearm owners to lock their weapons, and Colorado’s child access prevention law is not as strong as the law in many other states.*

Just to be clear, this law means a locking device is included with the sale of a handgun. The law does not require it to actually be used by the owner.

This is the logical, foreseeable result of the US being awash in firearms and that your 18th birthday is the only “training” necessary to purchase long guns.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Chip Star,

Well, this was a shotgun, not a handgun, but the second sentence is the main point here; *Colorado also does not require firearm owners to lock their weapons, and Colorado’s child access prevention law is not as strong as the law in many other states.*

As an example, Massachusetts law states that "All guns, when not in use, with the exception of primitive firearms, must be stored or kept “secured in a locked container or equipped with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety device,” to prevent unauthorized use."

5 ( +6 / -1 )

It’s stupid having a gun anyway, but a loaded gun, in your home, with children.

She should get life.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

What a sad story.

Curious what the answer would were someone to tally how many innocents died because of an 'accident' like this, versus the count for the times 'a hero with a gun saved a life'.

What terrible lives people must live when they feel they need to have guns lying around. Especially when there are children nearby. Sick.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I often hear pro-gun people say, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

This case is so sad.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Such an accident could not happen in Japan. Gun owners are required to store their firearms (shotguns or rifles) in a gun locker built to specified regulations, with ammunition stored in a separate place. I don't think there has ever been a case of home invasion that was repelled by a home owner wielding a gun, at least not within living memory.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Most gun owners in America just don't get it: a gun in the home means a higher risk of a homicide all in the family, especially one with children, rather than a means of protecting the family from would-be violent intruders. In 2011 an abusive American neo-Nazi dad, Jeff Hall, was shot to death by his 10-year-old-son, but this was no accident.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

I'm suspicious of whether the 7 year old even have the strength to press the trigger, real gun's trigger requires a fair bit of force.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

@NCIS Reruns Most guns in Japan are meant for hunting and not for "protection", some gun owners there need the guns to be easily accessible otherwise the means for protection won't hold.

Well most other countries are safer without needing guns to "protect" themselves.

A Singapore minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam once said, we aspire to the liberty of being able to walk the streets freely any time in the night.

https://youtu.be/hpwPciW74b8?t=769

2 ( +3 / -1 )

NCIS Reruns,

I don't think there has ever been a case of home invasion that was repelled by a home owner wielding a gun, at least not within living memory.

In Japan or the U.S.?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The pro-gun argument after a murder is usually that a murderer could have used a knife or other weapon.

I would like them to make the same argument here - that the accident could have just as easily happened with some other everyday household object.

This is just another needless death, but apparently a death worth having to satisfy America's gun fetish.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"Guns don't kill people", children do.

Stupid.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Well, this was a shotgun, not a handgun, but the second sentence is the main point here; Colorado also does not require firearm owners to lock their weapons, and Colorado’s child access prevention law is not as strong as the law in many other states.

As an example, Massachusetts law states that "All guns, when not in use, with the exception of primitive firearms, must be stored or kept “secured in a locked container or equipped with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety device,” to prevent unauthorized use."

Agreed. My intention was to prevent anyone from misunderstanding the law and thinking the federal law required the handgun to be locked.

Massachusetts law is reasonable and should be adopted by the federal government.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It’s stupid having a gun anyway, but a loaded gun, in your home, with children

It definitely is a very sad story, but if you’re going to keep a loaded gun in the house and with kids, it should be at the very minimum locked up.

*Massachusetts law states that "All guns, when not in use, with the exception of primitive firearms, must be stored or kept “secured in a locked container or equipped with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety device,” to prevent unauthorized use."*

I wouldn’t disagree, but I don’t think that law would work for every state or that everyone would follow it. California is similar to Massachusetts. But on the ranch where I live when I’m in the States in Texas, we have a lot of coyotes and other wild animals that will attack and eat livestock, so I need my rifle ready at all times, should they attack our livestocks.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Wow...keeping a shotgun loaded in the house with 7 and 3 year old kids alone.....

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I'm suspicious of whether the 7 year old even have the strength to press the trigger, real gun's trigger requires a fair bit of force.

Incorrect. Shotguns have a trigger pull of between 3.5 and 4 pounds, which is not much force at all. This can be adjusted up or down; most people adjust trigger pull down so it takes less force to fire their weapon.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Chip Star

Agreed. My intention was to prevent anyone from misunderstanding the law and thinking the federal law required the handgun to be locked.

My bad. Thanks for the clarification. Actually I question the constitutionality of Massachusetts's law because I'd have thought it impedes someone's right to use a gun for home defense if they have to unlock it before using it. But I'm (obviously) not a constitutional lawyer, and it's on the books, so it must be allowed.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Massachusetts law is reasonable and should be adopted by the federal government.

100% agree. The mother needs some jail time, IMHO. The 7-yr old will be scared for life too.

Rural Colorado isn't Massachusetts or NYC. But suburban Denver isn't rural either. The fact that a 7 yr old could get to it should be jail-able offense.

I have a number of relatives in the eastern Rockies where dangerous wildlife isn't common in their yards, but 20 minutes west, dangerous wildlife is extremely common. Colorado has to weigh the different parts of their state and create laws that work.

Still Colorado voters can't seem to get better laws to control gun access, but much of the state is rural with very large, dangerous, wildlife, around, everywhere. If there is a bear in your back yard coming at your kids or dog, perhaps having quick access to a firearm is a good thing.

We've been hiking in Colorado and come across bear, lion, elk, and rattlesnakes within a 3 hour period on the same trail in the foothills of the eastern Rockies. The danger is real. People live in those places and love having nature so very close. A sister used to live in outside Grand Lake around 9,000 ft (3km) on the edge of RMNP. They were always running into bear, elk, moose, with an occasional lion. https://www.skyhinews.com/news/mountain-lion-sightings-can-happen-even-in-grand-county-with-video/

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Another day in America. Tragic and sad.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The good news is, her house was well protected from outsiders. We can all sleep well at night tonight knowing that.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

My bad. Thanks for the clarification. Actually I question the constitutionality of Massachusetts's law because I'd have thought it impedes someone's right to use a gun for home defense if they have to unlock it before using it. But I'm (obviously) not a constitutional lawyer, and it's on the books, so it must be allowed.

All good. Having the right to own a firearm is a different issue than being able to use it easily. SCOTUS would have to hand down a decision to clarify where they draw the line on storage requirements effectively infringing the right to ownership.

Notice the Massachusetts law is specific on the required storage and the reason for it? That was a purposeful attempt to avoid the law being found unconstitutional. The government has a compelling interest in preventing unauthorized use of a firearm (to save lives), the measure to meet that interest is narrowly tailored to do so ( how else do you prevent unauthorized use besides locking away the firearms, and the government is using the least restrictive means to achieve the goal (only requiring one lock or one container).

Again, access to and ownership of firearms are separate issues and the Second Amendment only speaks to ownership.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I have a number of relatives in the eastern Rockies where dangerous wildlife isn't common in their yards,

This is similar to the “I have a ranch so need to protect my livestock” argument. Having your weapon properly secured with your loaded magazine separate from the weapon will rarely slow someone down to the point of allowing the wild animals to wreak much havoc. Humans aren’t typically in imminent danger in these situations. (I do acknowledge that there are times when kids are in the yard, as you pointed out in your hypothetical.)

If you can’t keep yourself under control enough to smoothly access your property stowed firearm and make it ready for use quickly in an urgent situation, you probably shouldn’t be trying to use firearms and definitely need them locked up.

We've been hiking in Colorado and come across bear, lion, elk, and rattlesnakes within a 3 hour period 

This is a completely different situation than wild animals in your yard or going after your livestock because you are in imminent danger.

Walking up on a brown bear whilst hunting is an experience you’ll not soon forget.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Chip Star,

I guess I'm confused by SCOTUS' 2008 Heller decision, which held that "the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional."

Don't get me wrong, I think all weapons in a home should be locked, unloaded and out of sight. Such a law probably would have prevented this tragedy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If you can’t keep yourself under control enough to smoothly access your property stowed firearm and make it ready for use quickly in an urgent situation, you probably shouldn’t be trying to use firearms and definitely need them locked up.

That's fine for a mountain lion in the yard, but what about an intruder who has already accessed your house and is threatening your family? I wonder if any amount of simulations or time on the range would prepare you for a real situation like that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am worried about an animal attacking kids and pets in the back yard in rural Colorado. That's really the only reason NOT to have a firearm locked up with ammo stored elsewhere there. Most wildlife would run away when an adult shows up if they haven't already attacked. Throwing a rock or stick at them would be enough unless they were really famished or trapped somehow.

Kids being kids, especially near wilderness, will take off for hours into the wild. A parent with a firearm won't be able to help with kids exploring the wild.

Intruders never really enter my mind. That sort of crime is extremely rare here. Stolen vehicles and vehicle break-ins are the most common.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

bass4funk

But on the ranch where I live when I’m in the States in Texas, we have a lot of coyotes and other wild animals that will attack and eat livestock, so I need my rifle ready at all times, should they attack our livestocks.

I have lived on British farms and a shotgun is the norm, kept by the farmhouse door but at a height that children would not be able to reach even on a chair. They would also be unloaded. With shot kept nearby.

Your livestock would mostly be in the fields so they are dead by the time you get there.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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