Lawmakers exploit child gun tragedies | Firearms Lawyer
By MARK KNAPP
Federal Way Mirror The Firearms Lawyer
March 15, 2012 · 5:53 PM
Anti-gun groups and politicians regularly exploit accidents involving children and guns.
For example, anti-gun State Sen. Adam Kline (D-37th District) and two other state senators were primed and ready to propose new legislation immediately following the incident in which a 9-year old boy recently brought a gun to a Bremerton elementary school. The gun accidentally discharged, resulting in another student suffering serious gunshot wounds.
Unfortunately, subsequent events have transpired since the tragedy in Bremerton that seem to indicate that parents are leaving guns around where their kids can find them. While people all over the state were still discussing the Bremerton school incident, an off-duty Marysville police officer parked his van near Stanwood City Hall. The officer’s son, left alone in the vehicle, found the officer’s gun in the glove compartment and shot his 7-year-old sister. The girl died from her injuries.
So much for the idea that law enforcement officers are more trustworthy when it comes to firearms responsibility.
To make things worse, a 3-year-old boy fatally shot himself with a gun he found in the family car while his family stopped for gas in Tacoma earlier this week. The mother’s boyfriend put a pistol under the seat of the car. The boy’s mom and the man left the boy and his baby sister in the car. The boy climbed out of his child seat, fished out the gun and shot himself in the head.
Whenever episodes of gun mayhem get play in the media, Sen. Kline usually finds his way into the news. In the past, he has proposed new state laws prohibiting certain kinds of rifles that he thinks are too much like military weapons. Despite the fact that the Founding Fathers exhorted Americans that militarily useful weapons were the subject of the Second Amendment, Adam Kline wants to ban guns that seem scary — i.e., most guns, if the truth be known.
Kline’s newly proposed SB 6628 would now provide new language to the existing Reckless Endangerment statute, making it a crime to let a child obtain access to a loaded firearm. The trouble is that prosecutors already utilize Washington state’s Reckless Endangerment statute to prosecute folks that leave guns in places where children are likely to get hold of them.
The “new” provision contains no new penalties. It is apparently window dressing to make Kline look like he is doing something about a problem that may not even exist.
While fatal firearm accidents are at an all-time low, poisoning, suffocation and choking on small objects cause many more accidental deaths to children than firearms.
About one accidental firearm death of a child each year is typical in our state, according to state health statistics gathered between 2007 and 2010.
The biggest question about the recent spate of gun accidents is why folks obtain concealed pistol licenses and then leave their guns behind when going about in public. That one time that you are outside your vehicle pumping gas could just be the time that you need the weapon. But even if you never need to protect yourself or your family, the best way to keep a pistol out of reach of children is to have it on your person. Otherwise, it should be unloaded and properly stored.
A Seattle anti-gun advocacy group is placing signs on buses to persuade Seattle residents and commuters that gun ownership is more dangerous to family members or loved ones than it will be to a predatory criminal.
The Washington State Supreme Court has consistently championed firearms rights. The right to self-defense is deeply engrained in our state’s laws, with many case law precedents.
Contact Federal Way Mirror The Firearms Lawyer Mark Knapp at firstname.lastname@example.org.