How many times are we going to have to see this exact same tragedy play out before people learn that responsible gun ownership involves denying children access to guns?
The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office says witness accounts indicate a child in the back seat of a vehicle in the southbound lanes of Highway 175 on Tuesday morning, April 26th, got hold of a gun and discharged the firearm. That sent a single bullet into the driver’s back.
Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene around 10:30 a.m. They found a 26-year-old woman had suffered a gunshot wound. She was did not have a pulse and was not breathing.
Deputies began CPR until the Milwaukee Fire Department arrived on the scene. However, the woman was pronounced dead at the scene.
Two small children were in the back of the car. One of these children obtained a gun in the back seat and fired it, killing what we have to presume at this time to be the woman’s mother.
If this sounds eerily familiar, it is because a Florida woman named Jamie Gilt survived a nearly identical incident last month, when she was shot by her child after she left a handgun in the back seat of her truck. We made the following comments then, and they still apply now.
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.
Ms. Gilt is fortunate. She’s still rehabilitating from her injuries, but she got a second chance.
This 26-year-old wasn’t that lucky, and thanks to the negligent actions of whoever left that gun where those children could access it, one of them is now an accidental killer.