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Who’s To Blame For The Accidental Gun Death Of An Idaho Mom

Who’s To Blame For The Accidental Gun Death Of An Idaho Mom

Authorities: 2-year-old boy accidentally shoots and kills his mother inside Idaho Wal-Mart | Fox News.

The above story has been shared with me no less than six times over the past twenty-four hours. I’m sure in the next twenty-four I’ll get another ten links, messages, tagged in a few more Facebook comments or asked, “Did you hear about the woman who’s son shot her in Wal-Mart?”

While I initially balked at the assault to my inbox I suppose I understand it.

I’m twenty-nine years old. The same age as the mother. I have three children. One of them just days past her third birthday. And I carry a gun.

I’ve carried a gun longer than I’ve been a mother. In fact, day in and day out since the days my three little ones were born my children have spent more time in the presence of a gun than they have spent at zoos, parks, pools, and possibly with other children. If they have been in my presence, they’ve been in the presence of a gun.

I could say that but for the grace of God, a couple hundred hours of professional firearms training and a strict adherence to safe gun handling practices this could be me. I could be dead in a Wal-Mart. Shot to death by my own gun in the hand of my baby whom I carry to protect. The irony could almost be funny if it weren’t so tragic.

As I type these words dozens upon dozens of pro-gun bloggers are out there writing about how and why this could happen and what we can do to prevent it. They are listing things like keeping positive control of your firearm at all time, keeping gun bags away from children, making sure your firearm is secured in a quality holster and teaching your children about safe gun handling. Many of them are probably demonizing off-body (or purse) carry (rightfully so in this case) and maybe even lashing out at the mother for her irresponsibility and complacency.

Some not-so-pro-gun writers and opinion-spewers are also making sure we put blame squarely on the shoulders of the gun. Oh, and the NRA. Because you can’t blame one without the other. They are calling gun owners like myself crazy and questioning why any of us would take a gun to Wal-Mart, especially with our children in tow.

I get it. I do.

People like something to blame. Guns are a pretty fine target to aim all that rage at. It’s just like the car that backed over the toddler playing in the driveway. The pool that drowned the boy. The medication or household chemicals that poisoned, the tree that was fallen from, the pharmacy screw up or the car seat that wasn’t strapped correctly.

In case you missed it, there was a theme going on there. It was people. People screw up. People and their acts of complacency and ignorance are what kills kids. And sometimes tragic accidents happen through a series of unfortunate events that no one could have ever foreseen.

And while we’re talking about people to blame for this mother’s death. Let me tell you who I blame.

I blame you!

That’s right.

YOU!

You, the anti-gun activist who told her she shouldn’t have a gun but couldn’t give her a better option to protect herself and her little ones so she put the gun in her purse anyway.

You, the pediatrician who asked if there are guns in the home but couldn’t recommend any safer advice than, “Get rid of it.”

You, the Facebook friend who would post 100 times a day about car seat safety but not once about gun safety.

You, the relative who would put 1,000 hours into studying the safest stroller to buy for the new mother but not a second into what constitutes a good gun purse or holster.

As long as you are willing to deny reality and advocate unreasonable measures these things will continue to happen.

The reality is that there are almost as many guns as citizens in the US and that number is rising. The reality is that there are processes in place that allow average citizens to carry firearms on their persons in public in all 50 states. As many as six states allow the concealed carry of firearms by citizens without any permits and trainingwhatsoever. Gun ownership is on the rise and so is the number of concealed carry permits being issued, especially to women.

Guns are not going anywhere and to act as though they are is irresponsible.

Years ago we discovered that young men and young women were having sex. No matter how much we told them not to do it until they got married it still happened. And as a result we had lots of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. We tried harder to tell them to stop having sex and it didn’t work. Finally, someone advocated that instead of being unrealistic about sex it was time to face reality and start educating kids about safe sex. Teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases decreased.

When we embrace reality and decide to address it in a reasonable manner we do great things.

We faced the reality that kids ride in cars and are vulnerable because of it. We’ve made amazing seats for them and advocated their safe use to the point that complete strangers who have never had children can tell whether your car seat practices are safe or not. We have whole groups of mothers who come together to advocate safe babywearing, safe sleeping and safe play.

But a mom can still go to a gun store, get a gun, put it in her purse and not know the safety risks. If she tries to talk about it instead of getting reasonable, realistic recommendations on how she may safely own and carry a gun around her child she is blasted with judgment about how she shouldn’t have that gun in the first place.

She’s been alienated and left that much more vulnerable to error.

We, in the gun community do what we can. By law we are required to give out gun safety pamphlets and child locks with the guns that are sold but we have no control over how they are used. We arrange classes that few come to, but you won’t put up our fliers because you don’t like guns. You wouldn’t help us get funding or access to do gun safety talks in schools and libraries and other public places. You would say it has no place in school ignoring the fact that kids are getting access to guns and accidentally killing themselves and others. You would rather tell me that I’m a terrible mother for having a gun than listen to my tips on how I’ve managed to carry a gun around my children for over six years safely.

And in doing so you are the one who is making gun safety inaccessible. You are the one who is shutting down the conversation on how to keep these things from happening. You are the one hampering the information that could have saved this woman’s life.

I don’t know all the details. She could certainly have been a woman just like me. She could have had the hundreds of hours of training and preparation and known better and that complacency and lack of judgment is what got her killed. It happens.

But more than likely, she’s like the hundreds of women I run into day after day after day. The women who have guns but have no idea how to store them. They have no idea how to safely carry them and they don’t feel like they have access to that information. Their pediatricians don’t know and she doesn’t feel comfortable asking because of the judgment she might receive. There’s no poster on the library wall reminding them to keep their firearm away from children but it’s okay to alienate her further with the picture of a gun with a big red X through it. They can’t ask you because instead of directing them towards a credible source you will judge them for their decisions to be armed.

Instead of being part of the problem, start helping. Stop advocating for unrealistic measures like bans on guns or forbidding carry in certain places. It’s not working. Instead, start advocating safe gun practices. Accept that there are guns in this country and that people will carry them. If the manpower of the Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America would redirect their focus to real, reasonable safety measures what a benefit for reducing accidental gun deaths they would be!

Learn about gun safety yourself.

Learn the four basic rules of gun safety.

Learn safe storage in the home.

Learn what makes a safe holster system for carrying in public.

Learn about the safety issues with purse carry.

Learn what a safe gun purse looks like.

Share what you’ve learned. It’s okay to be honest and say, “I’d rather you didn’t have a gun at all, but since you do and I care about you and your safety, I want you to do it as safely as possible.”

Let’s be realistic and foster real, positive change.

And may the family find comfort in their time of loss.

Share this on social media to start the conversation in a positive way.

Share this on social media to start the conversation in a positive way.

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About Melody Lauer aka Limatunes

Melody is an NRA and Rangemaster Certified Pistol instructor, mother of three and advocate of safe gun carry and practices.

56 responses »

  1. Excellent post as usual. I cant help but wonder what this will do to the child’s future, hopefully too young to remember the accident itself but the knowledge will still haunt him for the rest of his life. May god be with him and help him accept this in the future.

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  2. Perfectly said . . .

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Thank You for this article. I intend to share it particularly with female students.

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. Couldn’t agree more. Well said.

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  5. Thank you for this. You’ve stated the issue perfectly. Sharing with our followers.

    Liked by 1 person

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  6. I own guns and you are wrong. It is not the fault of all the people who do not provide other options. When you have a loaded gun in your possession or home you are FORTY THREE times more likely to have an accidental shooting than you are to use it in home defense. The statistics don’t lie. You are making a choice and the Consequences of that choice rest squarely on the shoulders of.the gun owner. My weapons were always locked and unloaded. 43 times more likely….pretty darn significant.

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    • I’m wrong that people should stop advocating unrealistic expectations in regards to gun bans?
      I’m wrong that the general public should accept that guns are here to stay and safe gun handling, storage and carry should be encouraged?
      I’m wrong that people should be just as encouraged to practice safe gun handling as they are safe car seat and babywearing?
      All I’m saying is that gun safety should be as universally taught and advocated for.

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    • I totally agree with you!!

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    • Good luck when they kick in your door during a home invasion.I pray you are as proficient in loading your weapons as you are in locking them up!

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    • Liars figure…. And figures lie. Statistics are not static numbers. They are dynamic… And any small change can dramatically alter the outcome. What does this mean? It means statistics are incredibly inaccurate and meaningless.

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    • Id like to know where you got your statistics. I’ve also have seen that in 2012 (most recent statistics) roughly 30,000 people died from guns and 41,000 died from poisoning in the US. It’s about people not guns!

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    • I’m not sure where you got those stats but I’d like to know. Going between CDC stats and FBI stats the last time I looked, I don’t see how you got that information. I would truly like to know the source.

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      • That answer is for Phred’s comment, the display of comments on here doesn’t match how they come up when posting, very odd. Melody, I don’t totally agree but I do like the points you made. All those obstacles brought by the anti-gunners make education at all levels difficult if not impossible.

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    • “When you have a loaded gun in your possession or home you are FORTY THREE times more likely to have an accidental shooting than you are to use it in home defense.”

      Did you know that having a pool increases your risk of drowning? Owning a car increases your risk of have a car accident. Did you know that walking increases your odds of falling on your face by 500%!!!. Seriously? Go back yo your cave you ignorant troll.

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    • Hope you never have a situation where you need to defend yourself or your family. All of you will likely be dead before you unlock your weapon and load it.

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  7. As a leader of TWAW I did not comment or post on my page the article or my opinion but I am going to share this. Thank you for saying it just as it is. I pray for the safety of everyone around me every time I put my gun on me. I train and educate as much as I can but it’s never too much when it comes to the safety of all around us. I carry daily and care for my 1 year old grandson. It’s all about education and awareness. Something we can NEVER have too much of.

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  8. Reblogged this on RealDefense and commented:
    Awesome post!

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  9. Wow. Beautifully said. As an instructor that specializes in safety for women with firearms, I agree wholeheartedly and commend you for a great post!

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    • A great post? How about some research and facts ( author and those commenting) before one inserts themselves into the debate without accurate information.
      Hello world – gotta love it when we can all say whatever we want, blame those who in no way are responsible – and then get a pat on the back.
      The woman was a nuclear scientist whose family were – as her father put it “gun people”. Not afraid – not carrying for protection – fully ‘trained’ ….. and obviously not in any way responsible for her own actions which included ignorance and total lack of common sense – with regard to a potentially lethal weapon.
      I’m not on either side of the gun debate – I am however on the side of having a clue about that which one chooses to write about. ….. hmmm wondering if ……. oh never mind, you probably don’t even live in Idaho – her teacher was probably someone else.

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  10. you criticize everyone but the women who add a concealed carry license.
    Who very well should know about gun safety.
    The poor child who shot his mother because this women failed
    To abide by STANDARD gun safety rules
    As for gun safety being taught the NRA is against any
    Law that mandates prior to receive a permit of any type
    SO WHO IS TO BLAME?? I own and shoot guns.
    I’m not to blame!!!

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  11. Pingback: Who's to blame for the accidental gun death of an Idaho mom?

  12. M.J. Ackermann, MD

    Best article on this topic I have ever read. Thank you!

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  13. Great post, I have pleaded for years for people to invest in a first class holster. We had an issue at a Wal Mart here in Southern Indiana. A shopper dropped his weapon and it discharged. Fortunately no one was hurt. But when you pay 600 bucks or more for a weapon and buy a 10 dollar holster for daily carry your asking for trouble. I carry a Glock so I buy the best holsters I can find. You also have to become familiar with your weapon of choice. Even if you can’t afford professional instruction, you can get out regularly and practice. The more your familiar with your weapon, the less chance of an “accident”. I will pass your article along, in hopes just one person heeds your advice.

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  14. Reblogged this on whitehairedshooter and commented:
    The tragedy in Idaho could have happened anywhere, and this post brings up some good points for anyone who carries or knows someone who carries a gun for self and family defense.
    Straight talk with good points to consider, no matter which side of the discussion you find yourself on.

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  15. Reblogged this on my site. Thank you for a well thought out and written post.

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  16. Well said, we invest money into a gun for protection, but not in a good holster or time into training ! I agree with your points about the anti-gunners.

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  17. Richard LeFors

    There is 1 technology that would have prevented this that would keep even idiots safe from a situation like this or others such as a thief stealing your gun and using it in a crime or against you. It is a safety devise that only allows you to fire the gun and it exists and has existed for a time. The NRA will not allow it to be sold through intimidation of gun sellers with threats of closing there stores. Neanderthal gun owners even threaten the lives of owners with death threats. The NRA has been proven to be just lobbyists for gun manufacturers. They are just as responsible for this if not more so than the anti gun groups you would blame. Own your own responsibility before you blame others. Where is your push to make this at least available if not mandatory. Also insurance as a requirement would do much towards gun responsibility and safety.

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    • If it “worked”, it would be readily available. There are myriad reasons that it doesn’t or can’t work. The NRA has nothing to do with it. Incidentally, if your activation device is close enough to enable the gun to fire reliably, then you can still be shot with your own gun.

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  18. She was trained. The “purse” was designed for the specific purpose of concealing a weapon. She had a permit to carry a concealed weapon, something she’d done for years. She had a ton of experience, she was intelligent. She made a mistake. It’s quite a stretch to blame “me” or anyone else.

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    • true, she was trained. Yes it was an especially designed purse, made for carrying… BUT may I point out, she had only had the purse for a few days. It was a Christmas gift and she was not familiar with it. It was new. NEW…. not familiar. I’m harping on that because it is as important as practicing anything else. …..Maybe she didn’t think to practice with this new different type of carry method…. I believe in personal responsibility; I roll my eyes at the labels manufacturers place on things, like the one on a lawnmower that says “do not try to trim hedges with this machine”. BUT maybe, just maybe, in this case, it’d help if the purse manufacturers could put a label on the bag (not just a slip of paper somewhere inside it. A tag affixed or a label glued, so it canNOT be ignored or overlooked) — saying, basically, “dear friend, the first 21 times you carry this purse with a loaded handgun, make sure you do it away from anyone under age 16” or some such thing… just wondering how this could have been prevented, seeing as how she was proficient. Myself, I believe NO off-body carry is really secure. Heck, it’s bad enough being female & short and knowing some big young thug may overpower me before I can get my weapon into use, regardless of where i carry it. 😦 …when I began carrying, I carried for 3 weeks with a weapon only loaded with plastic dummy rounds, but treated it as if they were live. After that I carried in various holsters for another month with training rounds only – you know, the kind used to train gun dogs not to be spooked by the sound of gunfire. I wanted something that would go ‘bang’ if I did some stupid action, but not hurt anyone — I really wanted to avoid developing bad habits. Thanks for listening to my ramble. Be as safe as you can.

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  19. Be prepared for a rant because I am furious about this story and the above author blamed me for this incident……. This article blames me for the lack of gun education. It states that perhaps the mother, and maybe even her son, were not educated in the proper handling of a gun. The author should have researched more before she wrote her blog. This mother was an educated woman who “grew up” with a gun in her hand, she was trained in “proper” gun handling, enjoyed hunting and so enjoyed guns that she carried around a loaded gun in her handbag, a Xmas present with a special gun toting compartment. I assume it was so that her LOADED gun would not be accessible her 2 year old son. Well that worked out well! She had training, the proper equipment, etc and still her son shot her! Is Idaho so dangerous that one needs to carry a LOADED gun to Walmart? There is a time and place for loaded guns. Where and what kind of training do I get to protect myself from the untrained idiots who carry guns?

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    • I am curious where and when you think you should carry a loaded gun? If I think I will need my gun because of where I am going, THEN I DON’T GO THERE! Concealed carry is for when you don’t ever expect to use it. Last time I checked the bad guys weren’t announcing where and when they were going to be threatening me, my family or other innocents around me.

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  20. dear author – it would have been very easy to get accurate information regarding this woman and her background/training/habits/pleasures regarding guns. You TOO have gone off the deep end with conjecture and ‘bologney’…….
    It was clear in several articles – via quotes and family information that, as her father said – “we are gun people” – she was not carrying due to fear or wanting to protect her child/children.

    No, I am not responsible for this tragedy. Your article is uninformed and inflammatory.

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    • When I wrote this all of the details had not been published. Hence, why I said, “I don’t know all the details. She could certainly have been a woman just like me. She could have had the hundreds of hours of training and preparation and known better and that complacency and lack of judgment is what got her killed. It happens.”

      I am not glossing over her roll in this.

      I stand by the original premise of the article, however, in that gun safety information should be far more accessible, published and sought after by any and all parties.

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      • I couldn’t agree more that “gun safety information should be far more accessible, published and sought after by any and all parties.” However, I don’t buy your claim that this is the original premise of your article. You’re obviously looking for an excuse to lash out at people who don’t share your love of guns – and what better way to do it than to attempt to blame them for the ugly, inevitable consequences of your own extreme agenda.
        If you really care about educating people on gun safety, you might want to start by demanding more from the all-powerful NRA. If as many gun owners are lacking in gun safety information as you say they are, it seems to me the NRA isn’t doing its job. Or don’t they owe their loyal, card-carrying, line-towing, dues-paying members more than simply doing the bidding of the gun industry?

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      • Ellipsis – The point here is not ignoring the woman’s own role in her death. Not all facts regarding her background were available when it was written, so there is some conjecture that turned out not to be applicable. The points, however, are well made.
        Everywhere we look there are PSA’s, posters, billboards, signs, etc reminding us about things we already know – wear seat belts, don’t drive and text, don’t drink and drive, don’t swim alone, keep medicine out of reach of kids, use condoms and on and on. Every pediatrician reminds parentd about infant sleeping positions, bath safety, car seat use, sunscreen use, etc. If asked for more information the pediatrician has a wealth of pamphlets and websites that provide in depth info. Many even have sunscreen samples, outlet covers and other safety devices to give away. Education classes for all sorts of things are provided at libraries, community centers and other public venues. Most are free and are advertised.
        Contrast that with gun safety information. Gun control advocates won’t allow the NRA, or even police officers, to provide gun safety education for schoolchildren. Thet won’t allow such classes for adults to be taught, or even advertised, in public venues. Gun safety reminder posters are found at ranges and gun stores, not where people see them every day. Pediatricians lecture mothers to get rid of any guns or store them in an unusable state. Any resources provided are to anti-gun propaganda groups like Moms Demand. They certainly don’t give out gun locks or pamphlets about gun safes.
        The NRA does its job of safety education very well. Accidental deaths and injuries by gunshot continue to decline, even as gun ownership increases. Allowing the gun safety message and education to go public, instead of having to be sought out, and paid for, would very likely decrease accidents further. But, instead, gun control groups focus on demonizing gun owners, passing more restrictive laws and making the sight or mention of a gun, or anything that resembles a gun, illegal, or at least socially unacceptable. This demonstrates the lie in their claims of “gun safety” or “gun sense”.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ding! Ding! Ding!
        We have a winner!
        Most people “get” the message but you nailed it! Thank you.

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  21. This whole incident reminds me why I thank the Lord every day that I am Canadian. If you live somewhere so horrendous that you need a loaded weapon at Walmart what is this world coming too. Wake up America you shouldn’t need to carry loaded weapons when you go about your daily life. Millions of Canadians can go about our normal everyday lives without carrying weapons. Education is the key. Get better gun laws.

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  22. This article is complete BS. I like to shoot guns, it’s fun to go to the range or someone’s farm and blast off a few rounds. But I’m not deluded enough to think I can keep positive control of a concealed carry handgun that, by definition will be both loaded and within arms reach of myself – and therefore my children – at all times without there being a chance that at some time I would slip up.

    To turn the blame around to anti-gun people is stupid. The fact is I’ve recommended the excellent Kimber two shot ballistic pepper system whenever someone has asked what they think their wife/girlfriend should carry. No one has ever taken me up on it. I’ve tried to explain closure distances and draw times and the Tueller drill and the fact that even trained cops can’t reliably use their guns in time against someone intent on doing them harm. No one listens, they come up with a thousand imaginary scenarios in which it would work or just move on to forwarding articles about people who used CCWs to prevent robberies and other scenarios than the ones they originally told me they had in mind.

    I tell them drills on basic awareness, evasion and hand to hand self defense are the basics before you get a gun. They get the gun anyway.

    I get it, it’s your right to just go ahead and carry even if doesn’t make sense. That’s fine. But it’s not this idiot’s right to blame ANYONE ELSE for what happened to that Mom at the end of her own barrel. I’m sure she, like anyone I’ve ever talked to about gun advice, was simply convinced she was better, more careful and had all the right reasons to carry. And now her kid will someday start living with the knowledge his or her own Mom died by their hand.

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  23. Pingback: "Who’s To Blame For The Accidental Gun Death Of An Idaho Mom" - Doc Kozlowski

  24. Reblogged this on disturbeddeputy and commented:
    A terrible tragedy which will be misused by the anti-gun lobby to the detriment of our rights.

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  25. I believe that you can not child-proof a gun, but you can gun-proof a child. My kids started learning safe gun handling at the age of 2. They didn’t learn how to shoot until each turned 7. But by having the kids handle unloaded firearms under my supervision, they learned.
    They learned that guns are heavy, smell funny (personally I love the smell of Hoppes #9) and that they are for daddy’s use only. They learned that any time they wished to look at or handle a gun all they had to do was ask. Downstairs to the gun locker to sit on Dad’s lap while he talked about how dangerous a gun can be and taught them the rules of safety. Sort of a family time and training session all in one.
    I cannot make any judgements on this case other than it is a horrible tragedy. I’ve been blessed that what I taught my kids stuck and that they now all own their own personal defense firearms. I still talk to them about gun safety and require them to recite the basic rules to me. Safety is a way to live, not a mechanical device.

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  26. I am so thankfui to be a citizen of a country that does not worship the gun and arms at the expense of its citizens. Hooray for an almost gun-free land where handbags are for fashion and not for death. Hooray for never once worrying that I’ve put the family at risk by leaving the gun at home because – hello – there is no risk! Hooray for living in a country where I can feel free to walk at night without fear of being picked up by the cops as a vagrant, where I don’t FEAR authority. I am white and middle class, and have always been terrified of the US police. Good job that I’m not black or hispanic, eh?

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  27. You are responsible for your own firearm not anyone else.

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  28. Amazing that anyone would attempt to place the blame on others, when in truth it is the gun owner’s responsibility to secure the weapon in a way not to endanger those loved ones so precious. I was raised in a gun family and given the proper training. I could have even been considered a competitive shooter as my father was on the Army’s National Pistol Team and trained all of us in the proper use of firearms. Even with all the training, accidents do happen. When I was 21 and on a hunting trip with family, I turned to shoot a rabbit. My brother had stopped to do his business. I shot the rabbit, but I also peppered my brother’s legs with No. 8 bird shot. He still has lead in his legs to this day. I chose after that, when raising my family, not to have firearms about. I had my children and wife trained in the defensive martial art of Tae Kwan Do. We made security an issue around the house, but there were no firearms. My choice made from an accident that occurred in my younger years. I still shoot with my brother from time to time on a range designed for that activity. He has around thirty rifles, several semi automatic pistols, etc. He is responsible, I was unsure of my responsibility. I do not feel that it is anyone’s responsibility to provide proper care and education of guns except the gun owner. Don’t blame anyone else but the mother, if indeed there is any reason to blame anyone.

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  29. Pingback: » The Yankee Gunner Podcast – 042The Yankee Gunner

  30. It’s ironic that one of the comments above was left by a self defense organization (She’s A Pistol LLC) that suffered a personal loss a couple of months ago. http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/crime/article8182491.html

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