Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Child Shoots self with Grandma's Legal Weapon

Earlier, in June, I wrote a post about Georgia's new gun laws, which allow guns to be carried in more public areas. I expressed my concern about legal carriers, who are not trained in gun safety, and their response to a perceived threat. Now, in S.C. we have seen what can happen when a legal "carrier" is careless and doesn't protect a weapon.

A magistrate judge in S.C. was in a Wal Mart store with her grandson, when the child retrieved a weapon from the grandmother's purse and shot herself. Fortunately, the child was not killed, but was seriously injured. Fortunately also, the child did not shoot an innocent bystander. Granted, the naysayers will vow that the gun could just as easily been illegal. That's correct, but it wasn't and chances are, if it weren't legal, the lady wouldn't have been "carrying."

As a father, I made sure my guns were secured from my young son. As he got older, I spent time teaching him gun safety. When he reached high school, I reminded him to be cautious at other kids' homes, if a gun was brought out for show and an adult wasn't present. I taught him about semi-automatics and how they should be cleared before handling, and I told him to assert himself if he saw guns being handled dangerously. Lastly, I told him to leave, if no one listened to him.

I continue to shudder, when I think about the number of people, who may be legally carrying guns in my presence. Do they know how to safely handle that weapon in a crowd? Are they mentally stable? In Georgia you have to have been treated for mental illness to be denied a "carrying" permit. How many of these people are like the Carolina grandma, and don't secure their weapons? Finally, how many of them have out of control children, who may surreptitiously get into mom's purse and start blazing away at me?

Although such a scenario is unusual, it happens all the time in homes, when children shoot their friends, and has now happened in public. It is definitely something to think about.

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