A Florida woman who ran a gun rights Facebook page came under mocking fire from gun control supporters on social media last week after she was shot in the back by her four-year-old son with a carelessly stored pistol.
A gun-loving Florida mom was accidentally shot in the back by her 4-year-old son with a .45-caliber pistol he found on the floor of her pickup truck, police said Wednesday.
Jamie Gilt, 31, was driving to a relative’s home on Tuesday afternoon to pick up a horse when the boy, who was sitting in the seat behind hers, pulled the trigger, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.
A deputy noticed Gilt’s truck and horse trailer and “observed an adult female in the driver’s seat motioning to him as if she needed assistance,” the release said. “The deputy ran to the vehicle and quickly determined that the driver had been shot.”
Gilt was rushed to hospital in Gainesville, Florida, where she was in stable condition. Her boy, who was not harmed, was turned over to relatives, the release said.
The Florida Department of Children and Family Services is investigating how Gilt’s son got his hands on her pistol.
“The firearm was legally owned by the victim and the child came to possess the firearm without the victim’s knowledge,” the news release stated.
But under Florida law, “it a misdemeanor for a person to store or leave, on a premise under his or her control, a loaded firearm in such a manner that it is likely a child can gain access to the firearm.”
Gilt is incredible lucky. She could have died from the shot in the back that exited her stomach. She could have wrecked as a result of the shot. Her child could have killed himself with the weapon she did not secure, and instead left within his reach.
American citizens can and should exercise the natural right of armed defense with the ownership of firearms reflected in the Second Amendment. That right, however, comes with responsibilities, including the safe use and storage of firearms.
Ms. Gilt clearly left a firearm where her child could find it, with some news accounts asserting that she had it shoved in a pocket in the back of the driver’s seat.
While many parents wisely and correctly start teaching their children gun safety at an early age, the fact remains that children are curious by nature, and don’t always listen to their parents. As parents, we have a moral, ethical, and typically a legal obligation to store our firearms in a manner so that they cannot be accessed by curious children.
If a firearm is not under your immediate control, it should be locked up, and that applies both in the home and on the road.
Depending on the make and model of her truck Ms. Gilt might have had the option of locking her gun in a glove box or center console. Even if she didn’t have access to a locking glove box or console, a locking gun storage container such as a Nanavault is inexpensive and provides unobtrusive protection from both small hands and casual thieves (when used with the included security cable) for the cost of a few boxes of defensive ammunition.
We’ll be spending some time in coming months talking about various kinds of safe storage designed to give you quick access to your firearms, while still preventing them from falling into the hands of children and smash-and-grab burglars.
Gun safety is everyone’s responsibility.
We are glad that Ms. Gilt survived this mistake, and hope that she recovers quickly and as fully as possible. We also hope that she uses this incident as a teachable moment to help remind other gun owners that safe storage and useful of firearms is everyone’s responsibility.