Stupid gun owners

One of my biggest pet peeves is bad gun owners – people who are irresponsible with their firearms in one way or another and because of their irresponsible actions people get A) killed and B) give the anti-gun faction ammo to use against us.

Such as an example is James Michael Booher, who was recently arrested by Indy Metro PD after the shooting death of his 4 year old daughter by his 5 year old son.  Here is the relevant factoid that ends any support or sympathy I would have had for Mr. Booher:

A spokesman said they planned to file neglect-related criminal charges today against Booher, 26, in part because his 5-year-old son was able to get hold of Booher’s gun from the top shelf of a bookcase.

When the [5 year old boy] grabbed the gun, it had no magazine but did have a round in the chamber, police said.

If there are children in your house, and you have guns in your house, it is your responsibility to perform three critical actions.  The first action is to secure your firearms in an area or manner that a 5 year old child can not defeat.  They make these marvelous inventions called “trigger locks” which usually require a key and when properly used render a firearm inoperable.  Or, if you’re too lazy for that, you could have maybe checked the goddamn chamber on the gun to ensure that it was actually unloaded.  The other responsibility that is incumbent on any gun owner with children in the house is to educate those children on firearms when they reach an appropriate age.  Before that age, you need to ensure that they understand that touching guns is not something they are to do, ever.

I fully support filling charges of criminal negligence against this guy, and I hope they convict him.  People like Mr. Booher are the kind of gun owners that give responsible, safety-minded gun owners a bad name.

I hate seeing things like this – it is absolutely appalling to me that a 4 year old girl lost her life due to this man’s negligence.  As I said, he had three critical areas in which he failed to observe intelligent safety procedures:

  1. Failure to properly unload his firearm – popping the magazine out doesn’t do you any good if you don’t clear the action.
  2. Failure to properly secure his firearm – the top of a shelf doesn’t count as “safely away” from children.
  3. Failure to educate his kids – even at 5, a child is old enough to understand that “you don’t touch guns”.

7 thoughts on “Stupid gun owners”

  1. My wife and I are “child-free”, but even so, we go to some significant lengths to make sure that the firearms are secured when we aren’t present. Our bedside guns are secured in locking, sliding-drawer type safes. About the only time there’s an unsecured gun in the house is when we’ve just gotten back from the range and need to clean a bunch of them. Even then, we’re right there with them in our sight.

    We have neighbors, and our neighbors have (lots of) children. Should one of them wander into the house (even though it was without our permission) and hurt themselves or others, it would be a tragedy. It’s easy to prevent. Either keep ’em locked up, or in your physical control (in your holster on your belt). Or in pieces, on the cleaning bench.

    And I won’t even get started on unsafe shooters at the local indoor ranges…

  2. Actually, I have to disagree with you about something. “Before that age, you need to ensure that they understand that touching guns is not something they are to do, ever.” Go over to http://www.corneredcat.com and read what she has to say about it. Holding guns as a mystical, but off-limits entity will almost guarantee a clever child will attempt to touch them, regardless of how strict your rules are. If you let your child safely handle a gun whenever they want, as early as they show an interest, then you are taking the “magic” out of the idea of guns. If they know they are allowed to handle them whenever they want with supervision, they will be much less likely to do so without supervision.

    Otherwise, I agree with you. There is never an instance that a 5-year old should be able to access a gun on their own, loaded or not.

  3. Yeah, I should have added “without adult supervision” to that statement – I don’t believe that making guns into mythic forbidden objects is a good thing.

  4. i am kinda torn on this specific story… the gun was stored totally out of reach from a child doing normal things… the child CLIMBED a bookcase to get to the top shelf… to me, this child did something that was extraordinary to obtain the gun… now i do agree that there should be some sort of repercussions, and that the children should be educated… but its not like the guy left it laying on his coffee table…

    to me, on the top shelf of a bookcase would meet the “reasonably believes that the minor in the house cannot access it” language that is in many state laws…

    hell here in NC, it reads…

    “Any individual who resides with a minor, who owns or possesses a firearm, and
    stores or leaves that firearm in a condition that the firearm can be discharged, and in a manner that the individual knew, or should have known, that an unsupervised minor would be able to gain access to the firearm, …”

    so simply leaving the chamber empty would pass that legal test… plus, on the top of a 6 foot tall bookshelf would to me be a manner that a minor wouldn’t be able to gain access…

    in IN, the law reads…

    “IC 35-47-10-6
    Dangerous control of a firearm
    Sec. 6. An adult who knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly provides a firearm to a child for any purpose other than those described in section 1 of this chapter, with or without remuneration, commits dangerous control of a firearm, a Class C felony. However, the offense is a Class B felony if the adult has a prior conviction under this section.
    As added by P.L.140-1994, SEC.12. Amended by P.L.203-1996, SEC.5.”

    in this case, it wasnt knowingly or intentionally… so perhaps recklessly?… its a stretch to believe that storing a gun at a height of 6+ feet on a shelf when there are kids that are barely 3.5feet tall around is reckless… im thinking that a good lawyer will get the charges dropped…

    it would be no different than if the gun had been stored on the top shelf of a closet… i dont know… like i said, im torn on this one… the law does not specify that they have to be locked in a safe or stored in a locked case, or even that they must have a lock on them…

    now, yes the guy should have checked to make sure the gun was unloaded completely… but IN law does not differentiate between loaded and unloaded…

    and yes the guy should have taught his children not to touch guns…

    but im quite sure that even if you lock this guy up for 20 years… he will be punishing himself far worse than any legal system will…

  5. That I do agree with – he has to live with the consequences of his actions for the rest of his life.

    The part that really gets me is that he failed to do a chamber check. That’s the basics right there, all he has to is run the slide and make sure the chamber is empty. To me, that’s the basis of the “criminal negligence” charge right there.

  6. Even if you don’t have children, lock them up. I treat my guns as an investment,just like my car, which I lock up everytime so it won’t be stolen.

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