The issue of gun storage has been in the news recently, thanks in large part to a couple of high-profile incidents involving young children getting access to firearms; a 6-year-old in Virginia, who somehow got ahold of his mother’s gun, brought it to school and shot his teacher as well as an Indiana toddler caught on camera walking around an apartment complex with his father’s pistol. Gun control advocates have seized on these disturbing stories to advance their own agenda, using them as supposed examples of the need for gun storage laws that subject parents or guardians to criminal charges if a minor accesses their firearm.
“We have an underlying belief in this country that in order to possess a gun, you need to be responsible with that gun and leaving guns unattended so that they’re accessible by others, including thieves and minors, is just simply not responsible,” said Allison Anderman, senior counsel and the director of local policy for the Giffords Law Center.
The problem with that stance is that while most of us agree that a toddler or 6-year-old shouldn’t be able to access a gun, the kinds of storage laws promoted by the anti-gun lobby are a one-size-fits-all mandate that deprives parents of their own ability to determine when their children should be allowed access. Under the policies that Giffords wants to put in place across the country, for instance, the mother of a 16-year-old in Ohio who used her firearm to protect himself in their home would be facing criminal charges for letting her son access the handgun.
Brayden Jarrett says he was home from school last Tuesday, looking out the living room window, when he noticed a strange car parked sideways in his driveway.
“The car stood in the driveway for a little bit, so I walked into our kitchen because we have a window in the kitchen and I looked out and I saw the dude and I’ve never seen this dude in my life,” said Jarrett.
His mother was at work, but Jarrett, who is 16 years old, knew that she kept a 9mm handgun in the house and he knew where it was stored.
He says he is familiar with guns, in part, because he has been hunting.
“I knew there was a gun in the home. My mom had a gun, I knew it. I grew up with guns, so I knew about the safety, I knew where the gun was and everything,” he told FOX 8.
“My gun is unloaded. The clip is next to it and he knows where it’s at, so he grabbed it and he held onto both pieces and he stood in this (living room) doorway,” said Ashleigh Jarrett, his mother.
Brayden said he stood there watching the door as the outside door opened. He knew if it was a delivery service dropping off a package that they would leave it there.
But when the intruder started opening the inside door, he says he loaded the gun.
“I didn’t say anything but when I cocked the gun back and pointed it at the door, he said, ‘Oh (expletive),’ and ran,” Brayden said.
Like the vast majority of defensive gun uses, Jarrett thankfully didn’t need to pull the trigger to defend his life. Once the would-be intruder realized there was an armed resident behind the front door, he suddenly realized he had somewhere else to be.
Amazingly, thanks to neighbors and Jarrett’s ability to pick the suspect out of a photo lineup, police were able to make an arrest in the attempted home invasion; a man that Ashleigh Jarrett says follows her on social media and may have thought that the home was empty based on her posts.
Ashleigh says she now has cameras watching over the inside and outside of her house, something she never thought she would have to do.
She is grateful to have a teenage son who is now also her protector.
“He’s so laid back. I have more anxiety about this than he does for sure. I lined up the school and told them to set up a counseling meeting if he needed it and his exact words were, ‘I’m not afraid of guns. All I had to do was pick a gun up and aim it, I didn’t have to use it,’” said Ashleigh.
“I didn’t want to pull the trigger on the guy. That would have been a whole different situation, but when I knew when it first happened, I had to stay calm,” said Brayden.
Sounds like he did an exceptional job of doing so, and I’m very glad that the suspect, in this case, got the hint when he heard the sound of the gun being cocked. As traumatic as it might have been for the teen to have to pull the trigger if the suspect had continued to make his way inside, though, I imagine it would be far less traumatic than Ashleigh Jarrett returning home to find the front door open and her son injured or killed inside. The safe storage laws that anti-gun groups like Giffords want to mandate nationwide may be promoted as a way of protecting kids, but they’re written so broadly and badly that they can easily put children and their parents at risk.