TW: mentions of gun use & child death. A mom in South Carolina has been arrested, after her 11-year-old son found a loaded handgun in a bedroom and accidentally shot and killed his 10-year-old sister. This whole case is just devastating. Regardless of where you stand on the issue of gun control, we can all agree that when it comes to kids and guns, you can never be too safe, right? Plenty of families keep guns in their homes with children, and because they follow strict gun safety and storage guidelines, they are able to keep guns in their homes with issue. But when people don't follow those guidelines, unthinkable tragedy can occur. The most heartbreaking and frustrating thing is that those tragedies are completely preventable. Unfortunately, we hear and read about cases of children getting a hold of a gun at home all the time, and the result can be deadly and life-altering, for all involved. It's also frustrating because in many of these cases, no one is held accountable for the actions that led to a child getting their hands on a gun in the first place! Sometimes, though, justice is swift and appropriate.
Bernadette Renae Owens, 30, left her 11-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter home alone on October 5. Police say the children were left unsupervised in the unfurnished home, and that the home was littered with food and feces. The boy and girl found a loaded handgun in a laundry hamper in Owens' room, and were playing with the gun when it discharged. The little girl, Cabriya Lucas, was shot. She died in the home before police arrived. Owens was arrested the following day, and charged with unlawful conduct toward a child. She was released after posting $80,000 bail, and is awaiting trial.
Project Child Safe has some great information on storing guns safely in a home where children live or visit. Unloaded guns should be stored in a securely locked gun safe, storage locker, gun vault, or cabinet that is inaccessible to children. Even if you have your guns locked away, consider adding a gun locking device on each gun for an added layer of safety and protection. Ammunition should be stored in a separate place, and also locked and inaccessible to kids. These simple precautions can mean the difference between life and death for you children.