Two horrific gun stories involving children are making headlines this morning. In Toms River, New Jersey, a 4-year-old boy got a hold of a gun and shot his 6-year-old neighbor in the head with it. Meanwhile, in an awful story out of Tennessee, a 4-year-old boy is accused of grabbing a loaded gun at a family cookout and shooting the wife of a Tennessee sheriff's deputy to death. Josephine Fanning died almost immediately after.
The gun used in the second shooting wasn't the officer's service weapon, and as a school resource officer at two area elementary schools, he wasn't on duty at the time of the incident, The Tennessean reported. According to CBS News, Daniel Fanning and Josephine wed last year.
As for the first shooting, it's unclear how the boy got a hold of the gun and also unclear how he was able to use it (and why was it loaded?). But one thing that IS clear from both stories: We have a major, major problem in this country.
It's getting boring, right? Hearing me talk about guns over and over? We have a right to bear arms in this country, and hey, gravely injured/murdered 6-year-olds is just the price we pay for that, right?
How about instead of harping on the people (like me) who generally don't understand why anyone wants to own a gun anyway, we looked at the gun owners who are somehow allowing their guns to fall into the hands of toddlers? Because those are the idiots.
Every single one of the people responsible for a 4-year-old boy having a gun ought to be brought up on charges. Period. End of story.
If we can't pass legislation that bans certain kinds of guns or makes it harder to obtain one, then each and every time there is a gun "accident," we ought to prosecute the owner of that gun to the highest degree. Maybe that will teach people to be more careful.
There is no excuse for a 4-year-old getting a hold of a loaded weapon. The fact that we are even sitting here talking about this is absurd. What kind of idiot allows a 4-year-old access to a loaded weapon?
If we can't change the laws in this country, let's change the punishments. I guarantee there will be less toddler shootings if the people who armed them went to jail for a decade. I am disgusted. One woman is dead and one 6-year-old is in the hospital and though both are being described as "accidents," I say they are anything but.
If you own a gun, be responsible. Or pay for it.
Do you think punishment should be higher for irresponsible gun owners?
Image via Alan Cleaver/Flickr