I cannot begin to guess how many million of times various firearms instructors have admonished people to lock up firearms when they aren’t in use. This is particularly critical when you have children or other unauthorized/untrained/irresponsible persons in the home.

Unfortunately, there is always someone out there who thinks they can get away with “hiding” a gun. Burglars love these people, as professional criminals know where all the likely places in a home are for a gun to be hidden, and this is how they acquire the majority of the firearms they steal.

Even worse than burglary, however, is that curious children sometimes find these guns while looking for other things, leading to tragedy.

Cleveland police say an 8-year-old boy shot himself in the hand Monday night.

The shooting happened around 10:30 p.m. inside of a home on West 70th Street, near Clark Avenue.

Police said preliminary investigation shows the child used a chair to get in a cabinet where the gun was stored.

The man who lives in the home has a concealed carry permit, authorities said.

Police created an endangering children/failure to secure dangerous weapon report. The owner of the gun was named as a suspect, police said.

We do not know at this time if the boy will fully recover the use of his his hand, or if he will instead be permanently maimed. It’s a horrible price for a child to pay for an adult’s gross irresponsibility.

There are three places a firearm should be:

  1. Under your immediate control.
  2. Under the control of another responsible party.
  3. Locked away from all other parties, including children and other unauthorized persons. You can further break down the “locked away” into two more subcategories:
    1. locked loaded for immediate access for self-defense in a fast-opening safe.
    2. locked unloaded for longer term storage, apart from ammunition for increased security.

When we choose to exercise our constitutional right to bear arms, we also undertake the solemn responsibility to ensure that those arms we acquire are used and stored safely.

A very simple, fast-opening, keypad-operated gun safe that can be had for the price of two boxes of premium ammunition would have prevented this child from being able to access this weapon. Apparently this father didn’t think his child was worth that $50.

The man who owns the firearm is now facing charges—not to mention the lifelong ire of the boy’s mother—for taking shortcuts that in Ohio are indeed as criminal as they are dimwitted.

Please exercise your right to bear arms, my fellow citizens, but always do so responsibly.

Don’t be this guy.