A 3-year-old boy shot himself in the foot Wednesday with a semi-automatic weapon he found in his parents' bedroom. The family in Colorado is likely reeling after their toddler found the gun in the home and accidentally fired it through his extremity while Mom was in the other room.
I don't think it's too far-fetched to assume that the gun was not locked up, since the toddler was able to access it, and that it was loaded, since it'd really be something if this kid knew how to load a weapon as a pre-schooler.
Currently, the child's been in surgery all day and is in stable condition. As the investigation continues, police are figuring out whether or not the parents should face charges.
As most mothers know, toddlers can get into anything in the blink of an eye. You turn your back for one minute and suddenly, poof, your makeup bag is overturned and there's a massive, abstract art piece on your wall created from bright nail polishes and matte lipsticks.
What this toddler found, though, wasn't as innocent, which raises a lot of questions. Why wasn't the gun locked up? Why was the gun loaded? Why was the gun somewhere a 3-year-old could access? And finally, should the parents be charged with a crime?
This accident was avoidable, plain and simple. If you're going to keep a semi-automatic handgun in the house, you have a responsibility to keep it out of the hands of someone, like your child, who may inadvertently shoot themselves. Owning a gun is a right, but with that right comes the burden of accountability.
The Department of Human Services is also investigating the case and I'll be curious to hear their findings. Obviously, with these few details, it's hard to make the call, and while having parents in jail isn't going to help this child who's now severely injured heal any faster, I do think they should be held accountable in some way.
Community service? Speaking engagements about gun safety? Volunteering at a gunshot victims' medical center?
Thankfully it's not up to me to decide which punishment fits the crime, but I do hope that there are, in fact, some consequences.
What do you think?
Photo via gcfairch/Flickr