Tuesday, July 12, 2016

EDITORIAL >> Keep guns from kids!

The Beebe police have delayed releasing information about the shooting death of an 18-month-old infant Friday morning, probably by one of the children who were left alone to watch the baby while their parents were away.

The police may have missed an opportunity to warn parents to keep guns away from the reach of children and instead are waiting for a state Crime Lab report before they release more information as rumors spread through the community about how the senseless tragedy cost the life of an innocent child.

A similar tragedy occurred in a mobile home in July 2013 in South Bend outside Jacksonville, where a 3-year-old boy died in a neighbor’s trailer after accidentally shooting himself with a loaded, unsecured handgun that turned out to be stolen.

Med-flight emergency medical personnel pronounced the boy dead at the scene. He had one gunshot wound.

Lonoke County Sheriff John Staley said at the time, it was a tragic accident that could have been avoided if the owner would have stored the weapon properly.

According to the sheriff’s office, the gun owner was in the bathroom next to the master bedroom. His wife, who was hearing impaired and was changing her shirt with the child in the room, saw the boy pick up a 9mm Glock semi-automatic handgun on the nightstand.

She screamed, but it was too late. The boy pulled the trigger.

The gun owner said he kept it there for protection. The couple had no children.

The sheriff’s office ran the serial number of the gun and found it was reported stolen from Little Rock in 2008. The owner told investigators he purchased the gun from a co-worker three or four years earlier.

Staley said then, “You’ve got to make sure your guns are secure. Have them secured in a holster and with trigger locks. Be vigilant even if you don’t have small children around at the home. Be smart with firearms.”

You can’t repeat these warnings often enough. We live in violent times. Responsible gun ownership calls for extra precautions whether at home or on the road. People who should know better shouldn’t keep guns around the house that a child could find and shoot.

Those adults should be barred from owning weapons for life. Because all lives matter.