5-Year-Old Kills His 2-Year-Old Sister With Gun He Got for His Birthday

abandoned dollA tragic gun accident in Cumberland County, Kentucky, left a toddler dead. A 5-year-old boy shot and killed his 2-year-old sister with a .22 caliber rifle. Apparently the rifle was leaning in a corner while the children's mother was cleaning house. She stepped outside for a few minutes, which is when her son picked up the firearm and accidentally shot his sister.

It was the 5-year-old's gun, a Crickett "My First Rifle" he'd been given as a gift last year.

The children's mother says she thought the gun was unloaded, but there was evidently one more shell left behind. And that's all it took. I feel for the family's loss. I wouldn't wish this tragedy on anyone. Though an accident, on some level, that boy will carry the burden of his sister's death for the rest of his life.

But maybe because it was a 2-year-old child who was shot, this infuriates me. Forget the whole question of whether kindergarten-aged kids should even get guns (when their motor and reasoning skills are still developing!). There were some GLARING gun safety -- and freakin' common sense -- principles violated here.

That gun shouldn't have been stored in a corner within a child's easy reach, loaded or unloaded. You lock those things up, and you only let your children use them when you can give them your full, undivided supervision. You triple-check a gun to make sure it's not loaded before putting it away. And even then, you treat every gun as if it could still be loaded. Because every damn time a child gets accidentally shot, the parents always say, "We thought it was unloaded!"

But I also think it's irresponsible to market a gun for small children. I think it gives the false impression that the gun is less dangerous than it really is. It may have less kick than an adult gun, but clearly it's still a lethal weapon. And it should be treated that way. It's not a toy!

Coroner Gary White seemed to be trying to minimize the parents' responsibility in this horrible accident. "It's a little rifle for a kid," he said, adding, "The little boy's used to shooting the little gun." White says the boy was playing (!!!) with the gun and this was "just one of those crazy accidents." Crazy as in preventable, you mean? Or crazy as in what in Sam hell was a 5-year-old doing "playing" with a gun INDOORS while the only adult in the house is occupied with housework!?!

I know that for every foolish parent, there are hundreds (thousands?) of responsible gun-owning parents who teach their children gun safety and go out of their way to protect their families from accidents. I wonder what they would say to this 5-year-old's mom if they had five minutes with her?

Do you think it's too dangerous to give a 5-year-old a real gun?


Image via Rat Ranch/Flickr

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bills... billsfan1104

You start kids young with guns so they are not afraid of them and also teach them gun safety. It was obvious that these parents didn't do it. I feel for them!!

nonmember avatar Cass

You start kids early, but you don't give them their own guns and you don't leave them unattended.

Coles... Coles_mom

I WANT my kids scared of guns. I want them scared witless!!!! This is a huge argument that is going on with my soon-to-be-ex....he's a hunter and is wanting to get a gun for our oldest (7 years old). I don't want my kid to ever be near a gun. My husband is an irresponsible drunk who has no business holding a fun himself. He's usually passed out on the deer stand. Any time I hear of him planning to take our kid(s) to the deer camp, Cps is getting a call. Every.damn.time!!!!!!

LostS... LostSoul88

I blame the parents... They were so careless. There is nothing wrong with having a gu in the house put to allow a child to have access to a loaded gun at anytime? These parents need to be charged.

Their poor son will forever live with the fact that he killed his sister because his aprents were to stupid and careless to locka way a loaded gun.

Craft... CraftyJenna

I put this totally on the parents. Even if you feel the need to buy your child a gun - and I think that's pretty irresponsible- you keep it locked up and unloaded unless you are out at at shooting range, teaching proper gun saftey. My father was a hunter, a gun saftey instructer and drove an armored car so he had to carry a loaded gun every day, and all of us kids and the grandkids knew about gun saftey by the time we were three. Guns were dangerus, they were never to be touched or played with. Guns were not a secret or a mystery in our house, we knew what they could do and we stayed away from them. Part of me feels for this family, but their careless irresponsibilty with that gun is to blame for killing that girl, the parents may as well have pulled the trigger themselves. 

Sheri Stowers

there is something wrong with thi moher...you dont gt paid to think now because yYOU were irresponsible your son is gonna be guilt ridden for the rest of his life...and people wonder why this world is in such a state

Vicki Arndt-Parsons

No I don't think it is wrong! I think the parents should have taught him that a gun is not a toy! As a parent with guns my kids know better and as a child who grew up with guns in the house I knew better! It is simple if you have guns in your house for protection everyone in the house should know how to use them and be safe with them!

Rita Peek

yes i do it is very dangerous for a five year old to have a gun and for it be in reach for him to get at it my bf does have guns in the house but they are locked in a safe and a gun cabin were noone can get to them.

Histo... HistoryMamaX3

My children all have the same little .22- this is about gun safety and parental responsibility. A loaded or unloaded gun does not belong propped in the corner. At 5 a child is old enough to understand NEVER touch a gun without assistance- and because they are untrustworthy, it is a parents job to keep them safe.

I am very pro-gun- this story is sad and a very tragic event that makes me shake my head. Bad things can happen when irresponsible people for-go their common sense. It wasn't an accident- it was a disaster waiting to happen.

nonmember avatar Kafantaris

Gun owners and their family members are often the first victims of guns. When will they realize this is too dear a price to pay for having these weapons around.

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