“Gun accidents just waiting to happen” an editorial in the YDR

October 2004:
– Two boys, 11 and 12, are playing with a shotgun near their Chanceford Township homes. One of the boys accidentally shoots and kills the other. According to published reports, the children had gotten the unsecured weapon and ammunition at the home of one of the boys.
– A 5-year-old York city boy goes into the kitchen of the home where he’s staying with his father, climbs up a cabinet, reaches into a bowl sitting on top of it and finds a .45-caliber gun. While he’s playing with it, the gun discharges in his face, killing him.
January 2010:
– A 2-year-old Manchester boy is put to bed for a nap by his mother in the master bedroom. A short time later, the mother hears a noise and checks on the boy, thinking he had fallen off the bed. She discovers bleeding from the head, thinking it is from the fall, but later discovers it’s a gunshot wound, according to law enforcement officials. Police say the boy apparently found a loaded gun under some clothes on a shelf in his parents’ closet, was playing with it and accidentally shot himself.
The boy is taken to York Hospital and then flown to Hershey Medical Center in critical condition, and he later dies, according to police.
It’s a horrible, tragic accident.
But an accident waiting to happen – and you don’t need 20/20 hindsight to see that. It’s obviously foreseeable.
And yet the same accident is waiting to happen in probably thousands of homes across our county.
Homes with children where people keep their guns unsecured – or worse, loaded and unsecured… .
Just in case.
Just in case a burglar or homicidal maniac breaks in and threatens.
Just in case an episode of domestic violence flares up.
Or just because they can – because they have a Second Amendment right to bear arms and want to have a loaded gun ready for “protection.”
Never mind that such protective uses are rare.
Never mind that dozens and dozens of children in America die each year after they find their parents’ loaded “protection” and accidentally shoot themselves or a friend or family member.
Is it worth it?
Weigh the likelihood of being burglarized and being able to successfully use a gun to protect yourself against the odds of your child finding that loaded gun.
We’re not arguing against the right to own guns. We’re arguing for the responsibility to store them in ways that children can’t find them or get their hands on them.
Remember when you were a kid? Remember snooping around your house when no one was looking?
Most kids know if their parents have guns – and they typically know where they’re kept.
Where should that be?
In a secure gunsafe or lockbox – unloaded, preferably with ammunition kept in a separate lockbox.
Any other storage arrangement is foolish and dangerous.
And irresponsible.
An accident waiting to happen.
Don’t wait another day to prevent even the slim possibility… . 


Last week a tragedy occurred when a two year old Manchester boy found is father’s loaded handgun hidden in a closet and shot himself in the head. The father, a Marine recruiter, broke the cardinal rule of firearm ownership, he failed to safely secure his firearm.
I can’t imagine what the family is going through or the pain the father is feeling right now. All because of a poor decision.
When I saw the headline for this editorial, I hoped that it would be a plea to gun owners to make sure they secure their firearms, and whomever wrote this editorial did do just that. But, as usual, this tragedy is going to be used as a sounding block for anti-gun rhetoric that never seems to end.

“Just in case.
Just in case a burglar or homicidal maniac breaks in and threatens.
Just in case an episode of domestic violence flares up.
Or just because they can – because they have a Second Amendment right to bear arms and want to have a loaded gun ready for “protection.”
Never mind that such protective uses are rare.”

With these four sentences, the York Daily Record went from publishing a worthy plea that may have made a responsible gun owner double check that his firearms were secure, to printing another worthless piece of anti-gun dribble.
Fact is that firearms are used by responsible gun owners more than 2 million times a year to stop crime.
According to a United States Department of Justice report:

38 percent of assaults and 60 percent of rapes occur during home invasions
One in five homes undergoes a home invasion or break-in
There are more than 8,000 home invasions every day in North America
50 percent of home invasions involve the use of a weapon; the most common weapons used are knives or other cutting instruments
In 48 percent of home invasions, victims sustain physical injuries
Victims age 60 or older make up 17 percent of home invasion victims
In 68 percent of home invasions, victims and the accused are strangers; in 11 percent of these cases, victims and the accused are friends, business associates, or family

Don’t know about you but those statistics do not prove that the “protective uses” are rare.

My point is that the author of this editorial didn’t need to alienate a good percentage of his readers by adding in four sentences that have nothing to do with the truth of the matter.
If you own guns, make sure they are secure. If you carry a weapon for self-defense, either keep the firearm in your possession at all times or have a have a secure alternative while it’s not. Several manufacturers offer gun safes that use quickly entered codes for emergency access. At the very least, keep your handgun in a class two or three retention holster that can not be accessed by little fingers and put the gun In a place that can’t be reached by youngsters.
While many of us chose to own firearms to protect our families, we have to be diligent that those same firearms don’t end the life of one meant to protect.


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