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Children, Guns, and the Need for a Safe-Storage Law

The Ohio Statehouse in Columbus where the Ohio...

The Ohio Statehouse in Columbus where the Ohio Senate meets. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jodi Sandoval’s fourteen-year-old son, Noah McGuire, was accidentally killed on July 5, 2012, in a suburb of Columbus.

Noah had slept over at the home of his close friend Levi Reed, who lived with his grandparents. In the morning, the boys went looking for a lighter to set off some fireworks. Instead, they found a .45-caliber handgun behind a television in a bedroom, one of three guns that Levi’s grandfather later told the police he had kept there for protection.

His grandfather had admonished him never to handle the weapons, but Levi removed the magazine, pointed the gun at his friend and pulled the trigger. He did not realize that a round was in the chamber.

Levi was sentenced in juvenile court to twelve months of probation for reckless homicide. Ms. Sandoval opposed the prosecution, telling the court at Levi’s sentencing that the adults who failed to secure the gun were the ones who should be punished, but there is no safe-storage law in Ohio.

“There are no accidents,” Ms. Sandoval said. “There are simply irresponsible, stubborn, cowardly adults unwilling to stand up against the gun lobby and those who support it.”

A safe-storage bill was introduced in the Ohio legislature in February, prompted by a shooting that killed three students at a high school in Chardon. The measure, which would prohibit storing a firearm in a residence in a place readily accessible to a child, has met skepticism from the Republicans who control the legislature.

“The tenor was, somebody breaks in, do I have time enough to get to my gun?” said State Representative Bill Patmon, a Democrat who introduced the bill.

Via The New York Times.

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