Editorial Supports Throwing Parents In Prison

Editorial Supports Throwing Parents In Prison
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The shooting in Oxford, Michigan isn’t making waves the way many anti-Second Amendment types would like. What they wanted to see was a massive push for an assault weapon ban, universal background checks, the works.

They’re not seeing any of that.

However, parents are under the spotlight, with some suggesting they should be jailed for their children’s actions.

In memory of four Michigan teenagers who won’t be spending time with their families this Christmas and in sympathy with six other teenagers and a high school teacher traumatized for life, we offer a modest proposal:

Any parent or guardian who refuses to secure guns in the home, arguing that a locked and unloaded gun denies them quick access to thwart a home invasion or other mortal threat, should be required to implement an alternative strategy. We propose designating an adult in the household to keep vigil just inside the front door every night, a loaded pistol, rifle or shotgun lying across their lap, ready in an instant to blow away those dangerous would-beintruders they fear so much. Parents, of course, could trade off, each taking four-hour shifts sitting guard or alternating night shifts.

We’re being facetious — sort of — but our proposal is no more absurd than keeping loaded, unsecured guns around the house, accessible to curious toddlers and troubled teens alike. Those kids or other family members who live in the house every dayare the ones far more likely to get shot than any hypothetical intruder.

We offer another proposal, not so modest: Perhaps it’s time for those parents who refuse to lock up their guns to find themselves locked up instead.

This is what they consider a reasonable idea.

Now, I get the feeling. I really do. As parents, we need to take reasonable steps to make sure our guns cannot be accessed by unauthorized hands. What happened in Oxford is a prime example of what can happen, but a far more common one is the theft of a firearm so it can be used in more pedestrian violent crime.

If, of course, any violent crime can be considered pedestrian.

However, their reasoning on this is shaky at best.

The shooter at a high school in Oxford Township, Mich., on Nov. 30 was a 15-year-old sophomore. He fired more than 30 rounds, randomly it seems, at students and teachers.

He not only had access to a loaded weapon but was allegedly abetted by his parents. Authorities say his father bought him the 9mm Sig Sauer SP2022 on Black Friday as a Christmas present. His mother took him target shooting, and after a teacher observed him searching for ammunition on his phone, the mother texted her child, “LOL, I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.” The parents kept the loaded pistol in an unlocked drawer in their bedroom.

See, I have an issue with the idea they “abetted” this act.

Whether you think they acted responsibly or not in this case, what they did wasn’t particularly unusual. My son has owned firearms since he was 12, though they were secured in my gun safe. Many gun-owning parents take their kid’s shooting. Others don’t particularly find value in schools trying to tell their children they can’t look up lawful products on their own phones.

And guess what? Those kids don’t go on shooting sprees.

To claim the parents abetted their child in this shooting should require some evidence that they actually knew what was coming and either helped or, at a minimum, said nothing.

Taking their child shooting shouldn’t count.

And remember, the editorial board at the Houston Chronicle thinks this should be grounds for parents being arrested, in part because they didn’t lock their guns up.

Now, I’ve talked a lot over the years about securing your weapons. Do what you can to keep them out of hands you don’t personally approve of. However, I’ve also made it a point to say that it’s up to each parent to determine what steps they need to take.

The truth is that guns protect people, not just adults. We’ve had several stories of people under the age of 18 who used a firearm to protect themselves during home invasions. Those are kids who would be dead if not for their access to firearms.

If you want to talk about parents facing civil liability for not taking these steps, I can probably live with it. After all, we all have to be honest about the maturity and responsibility levels of our kids. My son was never an issue. My daughter, however, is showing less maturity than he did at the same age, so that adjusts how what she can and can’t do. I do this without necessarily facing civil liability.

But by trying to make it criminal, you go too far. You push to make a blanket rule for all parents, and it will still cost lives. Arguably more over the long haul than it would supposedly save.