It was a rough past week on the Kitsap Pennisula. Wednesday, a 8-year old girl was shot in school, when a gun that a 9-year old boy took from his mom's house 'went off'. She is alive, and in critical but improving condition. The next day, a state trooper was gunned down by a guy who, in my opinion, already should have been in the ground, or least locked up with the key thrown away.
In the State Trooper shooting, the guy shot himself, so, while one can't call that 'justice'(because it shouldn't have happened) at least it's over.
In the case of the school shooting...what is 'justice'?
While there are certain automatic punishments(kid is expelled for the year for just having a gun at school) and the several charges have been filed against the 9-year old, (unlawful possession of a gun, bringing a dangerous weapon to school and third-degree assault). The system will do two weeks worth of evaluation to determine if he knew what he was doing was wrong, and whether he will actually face those charges.
Should this kid be punished? Yes. Should he have known what he was doing was wrong? Yes! The question is...did he? At any point, did someone in his life cover the basics of gun safety with him? That basic question should determine his punishement. If he had had some very basic lessons, then some probation would be appropriate. If he was never taught anything by anyone...well, he knows he almost killed a class mate...a few stern, tear inducing lectures, and a few weeks with no TV is probably punishment enough.
At age 5ish, we started covering the basics with my kids...if you find a gun out, don't touch it...tell mommy or daddy. If you are at a friends house, tell their parents...tell an adult...you don't touch a gun without an adult present. We had to do this, because I realize I am not a perfect gun owner. Often times, I will come home and a pistol or two will stay in my relatively unsecure range bag for a day or two before getting cleaned and put away. Granted, they are in my closet, and on a shelf, but I would be willing to concede that that is not secure....
It sounds like the Kitsap County Prosecuter's office realizes this, and they are wanting to look more into how this kid found a gun at his mom's house. They will then decide if there are charges that can be filled there, and I am 100% okay with this.
I realize, using words like 'reasonable' sometimes involved walking a fine line...what is reasonable for one person might not be for another, but since I don't want to see something trigger lock usage made mandatory, you have to tread on the thin ice of a jury of your peers, by saying that someone who doesn't take 'reasonable precautions to keep the guns away from kids' should face charges.
If it turns out that this mom and her boyfriend kept a pistol in the couch cushions, or in a drawer in the bedroom, then by all means, nail them to the wall.