We wrote Monday about the student who fired two shots into the air in a Lacey, Washington high school before being tackled by a teacher and subdued. We speculated at the time about the origins of the handgun:
It will be interesting to see where the young man acquired the pistol, since he was far too young to acquire one legally.
I’m going to play the odds, and guess that it was a firearm that his parents kept for self-protection, probably hidden on a closet shelf instead of locked up in a fast-opening, keypad-operated gun safe as it should have been.
We can now confirm that our hunch was correct, and that the boy’s father did not keep the handgun safely stored, even though the 16-year-old had a criminal record.
The charges filed Wednesday include theft of a firearm, felony harassment, unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm on school property and illegally discharging a firearm. Arraignment is scheduled for May 11.
Senior Deputy Prosecutor Wayne Graham said these charges carry a standard sentencing range of six to 12 months, but that doesn’t include potential firearms enhancements. Graham anticipates there will be further charges filed once the investigation is complete.
“We have many layers of the onion still to get through,” Graham said Wednesday.
The prosecutor said he hasn’t decided whether to bring any charges against the parents. State law is grey in the area of keeping guns away from children and does not require them to be locked in a safe, Graham said.
The boy has a previous record. He is on active probation from multiple counts of fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation, Graham said.
The boy is being held in Thurston County with bail set at $500,000, and he has been scheduled for a mental health evaluation.
The boy stole the .357 Magnum pistol from his father and brought it to school in a duffel bag, Graham said during a court hearing Tuesday.
You are responsible for who has access to your firearms at all times, period.
In choosing to exercise your Second Amendment rights, you are also accepting the responsibility of safely using and storing those firearms and associated ammunition from unauthorized access.
If you own firearms, you need to own a gun safe. You will not be able to hide them where curious small children cannot find them, and older children going through the mental tortures of puberty typically make one bad decision after another as they push their boundaries… even “good” kids. This doesn’t even begin to account for the number of kids on some sort of mood-altering drugs or battling undocumented angst or documented depression.
Lock up your guns.
It remains to be seen if the parents will face charges for failing to store the handgun properly. As their unwillingness to store their weapon securely after knowing they had a young man with “issues” in their home, I personally think that the prosecutors should throw the book at them.
When you opt to exercise your right to own a gun, you take on the responsibility of securing those firearms.
These parents failed miserably, and they must be held accountable for that failure, which put hundreds of lives at risk.