I am vehemently opposed to mandatory storage laws. I don’t think that mandating how people secure their guns is particularly smart, as most people know better than the government as to what their needs are.
However, I also think that if a gun isn’t in your control, it should be locked up. Curious hands are, well, curious, and small children are often too young to understand the danger presented by a firearm.
Unfortunately, an example of this occurred in Florida recently.
A 3-year-old boy fatally shot himself when he found a 9 mm handgun in a nightstand in his Florida home, according to authorities.
The tragedy unfolded Wednesday evening at a home in DeLand, about 40 miles north of Orlando.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office called it “one of the worst calls imaginable” to respond to.
The shooting occurred as the 3-year-old and a 7-year-old were being watched by their 16-year-old sister while the parents were grocery shopping, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said at a news conference Thursday.
Chitwood referred to the 16-year-old’s call as “heartbreaking.”
I can only imagine.
There’s so much wrong with what happened here that I don’t even know where to begin. Instead, I’ll focus on the unsecured firearm in the nightstand because that shouldn’t have happened.
Look, it’s one thing if the gun is in that nightstand while you’re laying in bed reading and the kids are in their own beds asleep. At that point, I’d say the gun is in your control.
It’s quite another when all the adults head to the grocery store and leave the kids at home.
Now, I don’t know what the household rules are. Perhaps it was believed that the kids wouldn’t go into the bedroom or that the sister was supposed to keep them from doing so. If so, that’s not really a wise decision, now was it?
Sure, I’m writing about this with the benefit of hindsight, but I know from my own experiences as a kid that just because I was supposed to do something, it didn’t mean I would. That would likely include making sure the toddlers stay out of the bedroom.
So yeah, I’d say the parents screwed up.
But for many, this would be grounds for a mandatory storage law. They’d want to mandate that guns be locked up and want punishment for those who failed to do so.
Yet for them, I just have one question: Why would you believe for one moment that any punishment dished out to these parents would have more significance than the punishment they’re already receiving?
These people lost their baby, their youngest. They’re punishing themselves more than any law ever would. One could probably argue that arresting and fining them would make them feel a bit better because at least they’re being punished by an outside entity.
Mandatory storage laws would turn these people – people who are suffering already – into criminals. Would that actually do any good?
No, it wouldn’t.
As it stands, my heart goes out to these people, and I pray we eventually stop seeing these news stories entirely.