Police Shooting of Armed Teen at School Should Wake Up Lazy Gun Owners

gunIt's a scary day in America when a 15-year-old boy walks into a middle school with a gun in his hands. But that's just what seems to have happened in Brownsville, Texas, where an eighth grader was shot by police who'd been called in by the Cummings Middle School principal who spotted the student toting a firearm. And with reports coming out of the hospital that the teenager has died from the gunshot wounds, all we are left with are questions.

Why was a child walking into his school with a gun? And more to the point: why did a child have a gun to begin with?

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Whatever happened in Cummings Middle School today, we don't yet know. The child could have had evil intentions or he could have been confused. Police say he pointed the weapon at them, and they shot. We have to take comfort in the fact that no other students and no school staff were harmed.

But that's just the middle of this story. The beginning came before kids ever filed into the middle school. It came when someone let a kid get a gun. I may have been raised in a small town where kids learn to hunt with their dads and granddads before they learn to drive a car, but the very idea scares me to pieces.

Love 'em or hate 'em, this is the very reason we need gun laws.

Because even in the State of Texas, where the NRA reigns supreme, it's supposed to be illegal to sell, rent, or give a firearm to anyone under the age of 18. Period. End of story. Likewise, it's a punishable offense in Texas -- as it is in many states -- if a kid under 17 gets hold of a "readily dischargeable firearm" left unsecured by its owner.

Without those laws, there would be little recourse here. But the fact is, the person who allowed that gun to get into that child's hands should be punished. They screwed up, and now a child is dead.

We don't need gun laws for the responsible gun owners. We need gun laws for the irresponsible gun owners. Because they exist too. And when they screw up, the stakes are as high as the life of a child.

 

Image via mikejmartelli/Flickr

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