The Gainesville Police Department in Florida made four surprising arrests early Wednesday morning, according to a Facebook post from the department.
A little before 4 a.m., Gainesville PD received a call about a group of juveniles breaking into unlocked cars. When the officers arrived, they arrested four 14-year-olds. Yes, four 14-year-old burglars.
While making the arrests, police officers found one of the teens was in possession of a fully-loaded Glock handgun.
In the Facebook post, law enforcement explained the teen had just stolen the firearm from another unlocked vehicle.
Here at Bearing Arms, the topic of proper gun storage comes up often, as there are too many stories of cities attempting to enforce frankly unenforceable gun storage laws or people being extremely negligent with their firearm and it resulting in serious injury or even death. Another problem we’ve covered extensively is gun owners, and even police officers, leaving firearms in vehicles and having them stolen.
There are few things to address here.
These kids need to face the consequences of their actions, but the repercussions should not ruin their lives. This situation needs to be a teaching moment.
For the gun owner who left his or her firearm in the unlocked vehicle, they should know better. Of course, people make mistakes. No one’s perfect. However, gun owners should take extra care when it comes to storing their firearms. That’s just part of the responsibility that comes with being a gun owner. When one makes a mistake involving their firearm, that one error can be the difference between life and death.
Too often the public hears stories about a young child finding a weapon and accidentally killing themselves or someone else because the gun wasn’t properly stored and/or the kids weren’t taught what to do if they came across one. Accidental shooting deaths may be on the decline, but even one is too many–and yes, preventable.
In other cases, you have teens and young adults, like those in Gainesville, who understand exactly what they are doing, whether it be stealing from a stranger or taking the firearm from a family member. They know they’ll either sell it, use it to commit another crime, or bring to school to carry out a mass shooting. The public has seen each of these scenarios play out.
Imagine for a minute that the officers didn’t receive this burglary call. Imagine that these kids got away with the burglaries and the one teen kept the firearm. Several things could’ve happened with that firearm. A convicted felon could’ve bought it off the kid and used it to carry out another crime, the young teen, not knowing how to handle it, could have accidentally killed himself or a friend, or the kid could’ve kept it for himself, taking the first step down the wrong path in life.
The young man with the firearm is lucky he’s alive, as law enforcement notes in their post.
This situation could have quickly turned into an officer-involved shooting. An officer or one of the kids could have easily been injured or killed, all because some teens made the wrong choice and a gun owner didn’t properly store their firearm.
Moral of the story: Kids need to know their actions have consequences and gun owners need to make sure their firearms are secure, so accidents and intentional crimes like this don’t happen.
From the Facebook post:
Officer Ben Tobias, the agency’s spokesperson continues to plead with the public for them to lock their cars. “One of these 14 year old teens was carrying a loaded handgun when he was stopped by police,” Tobias said. “This teen stole this loaded gun from an unlocked vehicle earlier in the week. This situation could have easily resulted in an officer-involved-shooting. If this isn’t a shocking enough reminder to lock your car and secure your firearms…I’m not sure what will be.”
See the Gainesville PD’s Facebook post below.