I saw this story a few seconds ago and asked myself, “What parent buys their five-year-old kid a real gun?” Then I asked myself, “I wonder what the NRA might have to say about this one?”
The next thing I wondered was about how that boy is going to feel when he gets older knowing that he had a sister… but he killed her? That goes along with any trauma the little guy might be experiencing now, too. Okay, I know we have this thing of teaching our children how to shoot at young ages – even I learned how to shoot before I was a teenager (but I wasn’t five, either) and one of the first things I learned was to never, ever point even an unloaded and safe weapon at anyone or have your finger on the trigger. So the question is at what age should any child be responsible enough to handle such a weapon and if they’re not old enough to be able to perform the safety checks necessary to handle it, should they even have it?
More questions: Should the mother have been more responsible by (1) making sure the weapon was clear and safe and (2) not having it where the kid could get his hands on it? How did it happen that there was a round chambered in the first place?
My heart does go out to this family… but this is something that shouldn’t have happened. Little boys and toy guns go together like ice cream and cake and, oddly, any of us who had a toy gun easily learned to point and shoot thanks to games like “Army” and “Cowboys and Indians” and, of course, television. So it’s not all that difficult to figure out how something like this could happen but instead of vocalizing, “Bang!” and telling your ‘victim’ to lie down and play dead, sadly, it’s happened for real.
This story becomes more pointed in that this is like the third time over the last couple of weeks where I’ve read that a child got his hands on a loaded weapon and accidentally shot another child so at what point do we draw the line at the minimum age for safe and responsible gun handling? When these tragedies happen, should the parents be held responsible even though the shooting is ruled accidental?
Then the NRA is pitching a bitch against Congress’s attempts to enact tougher gun control laws? Hmm, I wonder why Congress is doing that?