Cop's Son Shoots & Kills 7-Year-Old Sister With His Dad's Gun

handgunIt's been less than a month since a little boy brought a gun to a Washington school only to have it discharge and shoot a classmate, and already the Evergreen state has another tragedy to add to its right to carry debate. A 7-year-old girl has died after being shot in the family van by her younger brother with their father's gun, a gun he owns because he's a cop.

It's such a sad story, I don't even know where to begin. What were two kids, 7 and younger, doing alone in a van? What were two kids doing with access to a gun? How could a police officer make a mistake like this?

And what does this say about the gun debate in America?

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We tend to talk a lot about illegal guns and idiot gun owners, don't we? The first kid I referred to -- the 9-year-old boy who brought a gun to school a few weeks back -- is said to have gotten the weapon from a mother who sounds like a complete loser with her criminal record. It's not surprising she's been brought up on charges since then.

But this tragedy doesn't fit either of those criteria. The gun was registered, so it wasn't illegal. And it wasn't just registered to Joe Schmoe who managed to pick one up in one of those states where anyone with money and the ability to walk into a gun show can arm themselves for the zombie apocalypse. This was an officer of the law, a person trained to handle weapons. He had to have been trained on best practices.

And yet, it happened. We don't know how. Maybe this cop really is a bad dude. But then again, the parents were said to have been "nearby" when this happened, so maybe Dad popped out of the car to grab something, thinking his kid was strapped safely into the car seat ... and well, you know how that goes, parents, don't you?

I know a lot of responsible police officers, and I know they make it a point to talk to their kids about gun safety, and to keep the firearms under lock and key. Besides, I hate to beat up on a family when they've just lost a daughter and they have a little boy who is no doubt going through his own kind of hell. So I'd like to think this was just an innocent accident, albeit one that happened because dad's line of work brought something dangerous into the home.

Either way, this awful, horrible, terrible, devastating story is a reminder that when we talk about the danger of guns, we can't just talk about idiots and criminals. We need to talk about the good guys too ... and the very bad things that can happen.

How have you talked to your kids about guns and gun safety?


Image via robertnelson/Flickr

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