Mom charged after gun discharges in kid's backpack

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It’s difficult to raise a kid. I’m on my second and I’m still not remotely sure what I’m doing most of the time, and so far, I seem to be pretty successful at it.

Not as successful as some, but far more successful than others.

I mean, I’ve never let my kids go to school with a loaded firearm in their backpack before, for example.

The mother of a Chicago student faces child endangerment charges after the student brought a loaded gun to school in a backpack and the weapon accidentally discharged, police said.

The incident occurred at Walt Disney Magnet School on the city’s North Side shortly before 10 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Chicago Police Department.

“The weapon accidentally discharged in the backpack while inside a classroom, with a bullet striking the ground and ricocheting, resulting in a classmate being grazed in the abdomen,” the department said in a statement.

The classmate was taken to a local hospital in “good condition,” the department said. Information on the ages of the students involved was not given.

Following the incident, Tatanina Kelly, 28, was charged with three misdemeanor counts of child endangerment, police said.

Kelly’s attorney says she has no criminal record and this isn’t something that will be repeated.

Now, understand, what happened is terrible and I’m glad no one was seriously hurt. Punishment is certainly warranted.

My problem is punishing the parent for the actions of their child. After all, it’s unlikely that Kelly knew her kid took the gun to school. Should she be punished?

Unfortunately, though, according to the law, she can be. Illinois has laws regarding the storage of guns in a household with children and Chicago has its own laws as well.

In other words, it seems likely that Kelly broke the law by not having the firearm properly secured.

Of course, it’s also possible that the kid happened to know how to access the gun and did so despite Kelly’s precautions, and that’s part of the problem with these laws. Kids don’t think through the ramifications of their actions–that’s why we don’t let them vote, for example–and it’s unlikely they consider their mom might get in trouble for them bringing a gun to school–so if the kid knew how to access the gun in some manner, what’s a parent to do?

You’re punishing parents criminally for the actions of their children.

I’m really not OK with that. Not without some real evidence that someone like Kelly really did something completely and totally stupid. Plus, frankly, not necessarily locking up your gun all the time when you live in Chicago isn’t on that list.

I’m not sure I’d want my gun behind a lock if I lived in that city.

Unfortunately, the law is the law and unless something strange happened, Kelly is likely to be prosecuted for whatever happened.

Again, though, at least no one was seriously hurt and I’m glad the one injury was minor, though it would be better if no one had gotten hurt, obviously.