The term “accidental discharge” isn’t accurate in most cases. While it applies to something like a gun slipping out of your hands and firing when it hits the ground, most so-called accidents aren’t really anything of the sort. They’re a case of someone screwing around and pulling the trigger on a loaded firearm.
In other words, negligence.
No, I’m not talking about Alec Baldwin. Not right now, anyway.
Instead, I’m talking about a case out of California that just landed the negligent party in prison for the next 10 years.
A man who fatally shot his friend in City Heights in an apparently inadvertent shooting was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years and eight months in state prison.
Alan Bahena, 22, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and other charges for the shooting of 22-year-old Alex Leyva, which occurred just before midnight on May 12.
Bahena, Leyva and others were gathered in the driveway of an apartment complex on Van Dyke Avenue when prosecutors say an intoxicated Bahena fired a gunshot that struck Leyva. The victim was taken to a hospital, where he died.
Defense attorney Brianne Murphy said the shooting happened accidentally, stating in court that “a group of guys got together that night and decided to drink, and decided to get high, and decided to screw around with guns.”
Now, if that looks like a recipe for disaster even without knowing what actually happened, you’re right. That should be clear even without the benefit of hindsight.
There was nothing accidental about it, though. It was negligence, plain and simple, and the involuntary manslaughter charge looks like the right thing to prosecute someone over in a case like this.
It’s “accidental” in the fact that he didn’t mean to do it, but that’s not really an accident.
And this is why we must show firearms great respect when we handle them. We damn sure don’t need to be screwing around with them when we’re drunk, high, or literally anything else.
It’s one thing to have a few drinks and then find yourself in a self-defense situation when someone breaks into your home. I have nothing to say on someone using a firearm in such a situation because you literally have no choice.
But this, folks. This ain’t that.
This is a handful of guns being the stupidest they could possibly be, mixing firearms with mind-altering chemicals without any actual need.
As a result, someone died. According to Bahena, his best friend.
Even if you ignore how things like this lead to attempts at restricting our rights or even getting a decade in prison, you’ve killed your best friend because you were stupid.
Now, with that said, I’m not sure about this sentence. The sentence for involuntary manslaughter is only two to four years in California. While Bahena pled guilty to that and “other charges,” I can’t imagine those charges being worse than the charge for killing someone.
That raises serious questions as to just what the hell other other charges were and why he’s getting at least six years for them.
Of course, this is California, so I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that they were firearm related.
Then there’s the fact that some aren’t convinced it was an “accident” and not because they blame negligence. If the judge was such a party, he may have opted for the maximum possible sentences on all charges so as to lay down the longest period in prison he could.
But that’s just speculation.
What we all need to remember is that guns aren’t toys. They need to be treated with respect and failure to do that isn’t an accident, it’s a prison sentence waiting to happen.