While I support armed staff at our schools, students with guns are a very different issue. Back in my youth, it was nothing to see a rifle or shotgun in a truck’s gun rack. Many of my classmates went hunting before and after school and our school had no issue with this.
But the laws today are different. It wouldn’t really have mattered what our school thought about the subject. Many of my classmates would have been arrested for what we considered fairly normal.
That was pre-Columbine, though, and attitudes have changed.
Even back then, though, a second grader wasn’t someone who was going to get away with such a thing. Again, it wasn’t an issue back when I was in school.
Officials have filed a pair of charges against a parent and one other individual after a 7-year-old boy brought an unloaded gun to a Grand Rapids elementary school earlier this month, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker announced Tuesday.
The child’s mother, Aubrey Wilson, is charged with fourth-degree child abuse, and Wilson’s fiancé, Chelsea Berkley, is charged with one count of felony firearms possession, Becker said at a news conference Tuesday. GRPD Chief Eric Winstrom said the weapon is believed to be stolen, and further charges are possible.
Becker said the gun was brought into the child’s home and left in an area where he could access it, although he declined to answer specifically where the gun was located before the child obtained it.
Wilson and Berkley are fully cooperative, Becker said. An arraignment date has not been announced. The child abuse charge carries a penalty of up to one year in prison and the felony weapons charge carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.
There are a lot of questions about what happened. Those aren’t likely to be answered right here and now.
Earlier this year, Michigan passed a mandatory storage law. It hasn’t gone into effect, and Becker noted that it’s unlikely it would have changed much of anything if it had.
Regardless of the law, this is why we need to be cautious with our firearms and where we keep them. I think that parents need to decide when their kids are ready to have access to guns and they need to make sure they’re mature enough to handle the responsibility.
I’m pretty sure we’ll all agree that a seven-year-old isn’t.
Then again, it seems Berkley is a convicted felon and was in possession of a firearm in the first place, so it’s unsurprising no one bothered to lock it up. This is also why it’s unlikely the mandatory storage law would have kept the kid from getting the gun and taking it to school.
Felons are notoriously bad at firearm safety.
Either way, it looks like Berkley is looking at another felony stretch for this one and Wilson is possibly looking at one herself. That’s not good for the kid at all, though probation for Wilson might be in the cards because of that.
What’s clear is that this is how not to be a gun owner.
Especially if you’re a felon.