Carelessness with firearms is an epidemic that is costing far too many lives. While deaths due to negligence or improper handling of guns are often labeled accidental, the truth is that they are avoidable.
For example, a man in Texas shot his father-in-law outside a gun show when he was not handling his gun safely.
The response from a “democratic consultant” is about what you would expect:
Some people say that guns don’t kill people, the person pulling the trigger does. They can kill you a lot easier with a gun. And what we need is for gun owners to take it upon themselves to work with us to be safer on this. Because right now the status quo sure ain’t working.
This is a reminder of a very important point. Gun owners should want guns to be safer, and should work to make that the case. Unfortunately, the pro-gun response was also about what you would expect:
I know all the nay-sayers are gonna come out and they’re gonna say ‘I told you so.’ This is not ‘I told you so’ this is not ‘I gotcha.’ This is no different than this little incident we saw a day or so ago where two kids were ejected from a vehicle because they weren’t wearing a seat belt. We don’t blame the vehicle for that incident so we’re not gonna blame the guns for this incident.
But, I am not blaming the gun. I am blaming the person holding it, as well as a system that allows people to handle weapons without proper training or safety precautions. To compare a shooting death to an incident involving children being thrown from a vehicle is ironic. Safety measures are repeatedly taken to make car accidents less likely, and to make the accidents that do happen less injurious. Yet, gun advocates repeatedly refuse to do the same for guns, despite ongoing efforts from the other side. So, yes it is, “I told you so.” And, sadly, it will continue to be, “I told you so,” as these kind of “accidental” deaths continue to happen.
Similarly, gun owners are complicit in a system that allows children to get their hands on guns, often with tragic results.
An 11-year-old boy shot himself at Boy Scout camp near San Diego. Details are not in regarding whether the shooting was intentional or not, but he should not have had access to a gun in the first place. Gun owners with children should want to secure their weapons (and keep the unloaded). And again, they have fought regulations that would mandate this.
Gun owners need to acknowledge that their weapons can be used to cause great harm to others, whether it is intentional or not. I don’t think this man meant to shoot his father in law, and I don’t think that the gun owner meant for his weapon to end up in the hands of an eleven-year-old boy. But, in both cases, someone is dead, shot by a weapon that was not handled safely or correctly. Dismissing cases like these as accidents devalues the lives that were taken, writing them off as acceptable losses or collateral damage in the imaginary war against gun-grabbers. Gun owners should want other gun owners to store and handle their weapons carefully to make sure incidents like these do not continue to happen.
But, as long as they do continue to happen, there must be accountability. Shooting and killing another person, even if it is an “accident” should be a criminal act. A person driving recklessly who crashes and kills someone is prosecuted, and the same should be true for someone with a gun. Likewise, anyone who allows their gun to fall into the hands of a child by not storing it securely and safely should bear the responsibility for whatever that gun is used to do. The gun owner in these cases is an accomplice to the death that resulted from their carelessness. These are not accidents. They are as bad as murder. Negligence is no excuse.