Responsible Gun Owner: An Oxymoron? Or Just a Moron?


This would not have happened if the daughter was carrying a gun.
That would be a gun owner who's not responsible. If he'd had a lock on his gun, or kept the gun in a safe in the car (I think they have those), then he'd be responsible and his life would be very different today.

I don't know what will be the legal consequences but, at the very least, this is a heavy weight they'll carry for the rest of their lives, because of something silly.
How does a small child have the strength to pull the trigger? This guy must be totally paranoid to keep his gun so handy and ready to fire.
@2 - Apparently, the legal consequences will be nothing-it's being ruled an accident and no charges are expected. Washington doesn't have a law about restricting children's access to firearms. Sickening.
So was the gun just sitting out in the open until they stopped for gas? And why the fuck was the gun loaded? UGH
Unless on a trip....3 year olds should be in bed at 12:30 am. I'll go with irresponsible.

According to the ÇDC 20% of practicing gun owners inflict lethal wounds on themselves or loved ones.

I guess I can kind of understand what the guy was thinking--maybe you don't want to show up at a gas station at midnight with a gun, though that raises the point about where he was carrying it--was it "open-carry"? Of course, the NRA response will be simply that he wasn't observing all the rules, so lock and load, but people can't ever be 100% by-the-book on everything forever.
NEVER underestimate what a 3 year old will do out of curiousity.

Rest In Peace, little guy.
@5 because and unloaded gun is just an expensive and hard to clean club.

I'm guessing that he dad felt carrying his gun on his person while gassing up at 12:30 in Tacoma might be provocative or draw unwanted attention from law enforcement.

Obviously there's a segment of society who feel that any criticism of their right to keep and bear arms is the first step along the path to socialist storm troopers coming into their homes in the middle of the night to take their weapons. There's no reasoning with those people, so I've given up trying.

The cost for their particular civil liberty fetish is the occasional dead child; I'm done caring.
So, what would responsible gun ownership been in this situation? My guess, judging by the comments, it would include having no bullets in the gun and/or it would have some sort of locking mechanism or be in a lock box(?). Am I correct? If that's the case, then would that not negate the whole idea that a gun is supposed to be used for defense in, presumably, unexpected circumstances? The amount of time required to disable the lock and then add bullets would probably be a considerable duration, unless the owner is an experienced marksman.

So, with the above being said, and assuming it is true, doesn't that make the entire idea of "responsible gun ownership for means of personal protection" unreasonable. And by guns, I am speaking of handguns in this case.

I don't mind guns when used responsibly, but this just has me wondering if there is any sort of real-life example where one could actually be "responsible" and fit the definition of defense which the Gun-Owner-Fan-Club touts as being necessary. I have been pondering getting a handgun myself to keep in my bedroom at night and also for fun shootings at the range. I'm pretty sure I don't have to worry about my cats getting to the gun and shooting me...unless they get tired of their cat food and want something meatier...

dead children are a tragedy.

unless their mother is exercising her choice.

to kill them.

then its A-OK.

I remember picking up the gun in my parent's nightstand. The curiosity was overwhelming. It's amazing I lived. Funny getting angry at dead parents.
A cautionary tale for irresponsible parents? There was an infant girl on the news whose parents had given her those powerful magnets to play with and she swallowed over thirty of them. It almost killed her. So you hope that other parents hear these things and do not repeat these mistakes. But no, this is not the first time we hear these things. The story just keeps repeating. It is a dangerous world and children are always the victim.
So what was that in the Morning News about no children being shot yesterday? Or was that 12:30 this morning?
Very sad story. Also, angering. People are stupid; this can result in tragedy for themselves and others. I'm a responsible gun owner. They're locked in a safe in my closet when I'm not firing them. Only I know where the keys are. They are not for protection- I just enjoy target shooting.
7 hey we see what you did there- if gun owners were as dangerous irresponsible and selfish as homosexuals there would be 16,000,000 fatalities from gun accidents.
instead of 1500.
I thought one could load a gun in only a second or two, clicking the chamber in or something like that?
Surely that's plenty of time to load if clear and present danger arises.
@10: That misses the point. Why do you need a club for a late night drive in the first place?

Dad sounds like he's got some undiagnosed issues with paranoia.
I don't know if I can say anything useful about this, as a rural person living in a country with fairly reasonable gun laws. And in a town that hasn't had a murder since the 1940s.

Everyone I know, almost, owns guns. I was brought up in a home with guns. Guns fill the freezer with meat, and shoot the coyotes that are after the chickens. I could get access to a rifle or a shotgun in five minutes, but I haven't the foggiest notion where I'd find a handgun - I think I knew one person who had one, once.

As for what would constitute responsible in this instance - where is he going with his small children that is so dangerous that he feels he must have a loaded firearm at hand? The gun should not have been loaded, or should have been locked up, or both.
@13. Luckily my dad was good about gun safety. Everyone was ALWAYS locked in a safe with the key on his keychain (always on him). The only thing out was a pellet gun that was near impossible for a kid of pump. My wife's stepdad on the other hand. Loaded handguns scattered across the house in random drawers. Rifles with ammo out in the open together. Nothing locked, nothing secured. Luckily she was an only child, not sure a son would have survived in the house.

Everyone's a responsible gun owner until something like this happens
@4 - I'm pretty sure hearing a gunshot and coming back to your car to find your 3 year old child bleeding from a gunshot wound to the head that was THEIR OWN FAULT is punishment enough, Anthony.
@11, "So, what would responsible gun ownership been in this situation?...Am I correct?"

No, you are not correct. Responsible gun ownership at that point would have been to keep the gun ON YOUR PERSON, so you know exactly where it is and who has access to it at every single moment (no one but you). If you fear (as @10), that "carrying [a] gun on [your] person while gassing up at 12:30 in Tacoma might be provocative or draw unwanted attention from law enforcement", then either conceal it or don't carry it at all: part of "responsibly" carrying the gun openly is dealing with the unwanted attention and provocation that results.

@22, I disagree. It's negligent homicide, and should be treated as such.
I am absolutely in favor of people's right to carry handguns for their own protection.

I also firmly believe that these people should be charged with murder. There is absolutely no excuse for giving your child access to a loaded unlocked gun.
How was a 3-year old able to get himself out of his car seat? I don't have kids but I don't remember my sisters being capable of doing this when I was younger
@12 - those aren't children, they're blastulas. Fuck off!
@19 - I agree with you completely (any missing of the point was entirely rhetorical).
@23 agree completely. If you want to carry a gun, carry it! dont leave it where your kids can access it :(
I agree with @23.

The problem with a situation like this is that there were a series of decisions already made that should have been made differently PRIOR to arriving at the gas station with a loaded gun and two children.

"Responsible" in the "what should be done in this scenario" sense is wrong.
Responsible means NOT being in a situation such as that in the first place.
Responsible gun owner.
Responsible parent.
second amendment spokesman Workman in Seattle Times: "We have all sorts of drunk driving laws in this state, and it doesn't stop people from driving drunk".
Therefore: get rid of drunk driving laws?
Aren't there laws in Washington against child endangerment? Certainly charges could be filed for endangering a child by leaving him alone in a car with a loaded gun.

Any idiot can have a kid.....

The guy had a concealed carry permit. He could have stuck it under his jacket. Or, for the benefit of the rest of humanity, down the front of his pants.
23 has it right, 11. Responsible would be keeping it on your person and under your control. If you don't want to do that, at the least put it in the glove box and lock the box.

Of course, the gun does him no good left in the car. Might as well just leave it at home in that case.

What irks me is that so many have such a knee-jerk reaction to such a tragedy and call to ban firearms, to hold the parents responsible, etc. Yet the same people who would condemn the firearm owners would console a parent whose child wandered into the back yard and drowned in a swimming pool.

According to the CDC (… ) children from 1-12 are over 14 times more likely to die from drowning than firearms. This does not diminish the tragedy of the 3 year old's death, but should put it in perspective - a device that isn't even meant to have some efficacy at killing is responsible for more deaths than a device which is generally meant to have that efficacy.

This is a tragedy, but seeing it made into political hash to push an agenda to curtail our civil rights just makes it worse. While the natural urge is to "do something", I think the resources, both financial and in political capital, that would be spent pursuing this political dead-end could be better allocated elsewhere. The parents are likely already blaming themselves, much as any parent whose child's accident resulted in their death would feel (whether it be by poisoning, drowning, falling, suffocating, or shooting themselves). Show some compassion, eh?
The real question is, did the gun owner also own a pitbull? Because that would be REALLY irresponsible.
@20: From what I understand, he's going to America, and that's a good enough reason to be armed in the middle of the night.

The murder rate there is 10 times as high as in Canada, after all. And being in the general proximity of a gas station or convenience store in the middle of the night is pretty much dangerous anywhere.
Responsible in this situation would have been to have the gun unloaded and in a locked compartment, i.e. the glove box...with the magazine in a separate place away from the gun. Or for the parent to have a license to carry a concealed weapon and keep the gun on his person at all times where the child could not access it.
@15: This story was already posted in the Wednesday morning news, and I think maybe again after that.
Guns are only supposed to be used for two things: Hunting and blowing off steam at a shooting range. They may be useful in war but war sucks so that's off the list, and even if you have a gun on you when a situation arises so that you may use that gun in self-defense in a way that doesn't endanger the public, you're just as likely to be shot by the gun as you are to shoot your attacker, so guns don't work for self-defense other then in NRA member's masturbatory fantasies.
There is such a thing as responsible gun ownership. This clearly wasn't it. But unless he's some sort of monster, there's no need for further punishment of this guy beyond perhaps revoking his gun license. If he loved his son the way I do mine, he's in Hell right now, already. And he may never come all the way back.
@11 cat shoots owner with 9MM.,2933,1500…
@40 Well shit...

@ Whoever replied to my comment...
What I was getting at was the idea that handguns are to be used for personal protection. Presumably these protection moments occur unexpectedly, so if someone keeps their gun locked and/or unloaded, does that not make the whole thing pointless?

I used to live in Lakewood...I can understand the desire to carry a gun at 12:30 in the morning.
The title of this post sucks. I'm all for tightening up gun control laws and I think that in almost all cases carrying concealed weapons is irresponsible. But there are a lot of people who own rifles/shotguns exclusively for hunting and who always keep them locked in a safe. These people are not morons.

@11 While I don't think anyone needs a handgun for home protection, these hand-print activated gun safes are pretty ideal for someone who wants to keep a handgun at home for protection and be as smart as possible about it.
It's amazing how people in places with strict gun laws don't need guns to "protect" themselves while shopping.
The father who took the gun out of his lap and stuffed it under the seat will suffer no legal consequences. That's the opposite of responsible.
I've recently started caring less about this sort of thing when I realized that these people are reducing the chance of individuals like them existing in the next generation.
@35 - Really? "Being in the general proximity of a gas station" in the middle of the night anywhere is dangerous?

I guess I've been doing it wrong.

I would wager that 99.999% of the time, it's perfectly safe to purchase gas at night.
Dan started this troll thread on purpose.

I predict his next post will be about fat, homophobic, pit bulls.
It couldn't have been a very dangerous location if both parents left two very young children alone in the car (which is a pretty silly thing to do, even without a gun under the seat).
The station where they stopped must not have been that dangerous or they wouldn't have left two very young children alone in the car, which in itself is pretty silly, even without the gun.

What if someone totally unrelated to that asshole was killed by his gun? Like if the toddler shot off the gun and the bullet hit and killed some individual in another car? Does he get to escape punishment then?

The argument that the guy should escape punishment for negligent homicide because he's torn up over the loss of the victim presumes that the victim is his property to dispose of as he sees fit. Where is the justice for his child? Why does the death of his child not merit the same punishment as if a stranger had been killed?

And what if he doesn't give a shit? What if he's a sociopath? Can we punish him?
@11, "So, what would responsible gun ownership been in this situation?...Am I correct?"

If your three-year-old son is able to get your gun and shoot his head off, I'd call that a prima facia case of not being a responsible gun owner. The legal burden of proof is on the father to show he wasn't being irresponsible.
This wasn't a father, it was the mother's boyfriend. Not his kid; he didn't care.
Yet another senseless gun death: cue the gun nuts!
Darwin. FTW.
This is why we need to ban children in cars. If it weren't for cars children in fatal accidents while in a car would be reduced to zero!

cue the auto nuts!
Responsible Car Owner: An Oxymoron? Or Just a Moron?

Drunk Driving Killed 225 People In Washington State In 2008
Handguns can only legally be transported (car, person, etc) with a concealed weapons permit, so we assume he had said permit. Nothing in these permits says you must carry the weapon on your person.
People who carry handguns are looking for trouble, and when you look for trouble it finds you. There is only one reason to own a handgun- to kill another human being.
I was raised with responsible gun ownership drummed in from age 4. This guy was NOT a responsible gun owner.
"Barring some seismic re-alignment in this country, the gun control debate is all but settled-- and [the NRA and their allies] won. The occasional horrific massacre [or "tragic accident"] is just the price everyone else has to pay. Over and over again, apparently."

Adapted from "This Modern World," re: assassination attempt on Gabby Giffords.…
#52 I hadn't picked up on that. WOW this story just got twice as sad.
@58 wins the thread. (This is exactly why I mostly don't even bother commenting about this any more.)
Can we have a little compassion for these parents. They both made terrible mistakes, and they and their chidlren have paid the ultimate price. Believe it or not, most human beigns make a serious error in judgment at least once in their lives. It is often simpe luck that prevents someoe form being seriously injured or killed as a reusltof our mistakes. These parents had no business leaving loaded guns in the car with their children. This does not mean they do not sympathy in their time fo great anguish
@11 One parent stay in the car with the kids at all times. Have dad pump gas while mom waits, have dad wait while mom goes into store. That's about the only way to work it out :-P

What a tragedy. And it *should* be ruled negligent homicide, and would be in several states, I think.
@61, other people asking for compassion for the parents:

No, we can't have compassion for the parents. You know why? Because they still have another child that they can be negligent with. If this was their only child, and they were both incapable of reproducing, then I might consider compassion.
@61 Fuck the parents. Their surviving child should be taken away for the child's own safety and the parents should be rotting in prison. If the prisons are too crowded they can let out a couple harmless potheads.

Why would anyone have a gun that is not loaded and ready to fire at a moment's notice, what would be the point of it?
There are responsible gun owners out there. I know some of them. But the funny thing is, I don't usually see them balk at stricter gun control laws because said laws tend to consist of things they're all already doing.
@65 - Intimidation, actually, can be an excellent way to protect yourself and you don't need a loaded gun for that. Or even a real one; blank shooters will do. Also, some people only want the extra protection in their homes, which can be legitimate if you're afraid of a home invasion by a stalker or violent ex. Out in public, you're safer against those things.

@65 It magically makes your penis feel larger.
agree w/ 5280.

@58 wins the whole issue--the NRA's money trumps, and we pay, over and over again, in senseless tragedies. so fucked up.
@65 - thing is, though, he *didn't* have the gun. It was in the car. So it would have been exactly as much good to him unloaded, or locked in the trunk, or in the glove box, or ...

The idea that this neighbourhood is too dangerous to be in without a loaded and ready to fire gun, yet not dangerous enough to take the gun with you when going into the place where the money and goods are kept, and not too dangerous to leave small children unattended in a car - what universe has a place like that?

As I said earlier, almost everyone I know has firearms. There are lots of responsible gun owners around. This guy is as guilty of - what would it be? criminal negligence causing death? - as he would be if he was drunk driving and killed the kid that way. He had good choices available to him, and took the stupid deadly one.
I don't get it. It's such a dangerous trip he has to take a loaded firearm, but can leave the kids in the car alone.

Oh and the kid was strapped piss poorly into his car seat if he could get out like that.
Sorry for the death of this innocent child. Parents need to THINK and act accordingly. If you are so afraid to be out and about without a gun....perhaps you should leave your children home with a responsible adult. These parents won't have that concern any longer, unless they actually want to see their infant daughter reach adulthood. If my post comes across as a wee bit snarky, maybe that is because I am having a hard time understanding how the father(gun-owner) was pumping gas (so, presumably somewhat close to the car) and failed to notice his 3 yr. old free himself from his car seat, climb into the front seat, go searching for the gun & take the safety off....resulting in his accidental death.

(Apologies in advance, if others have already beaten this dead horse; I was too pissed off to read the comments before typing.)
@#58 "Barring some seismic re-alignment in this country, the gun control debate is all but settled...

I thought that the same was true about reproductive rights. Based on recent legislation throughout the country, I have doubts about anything we thought was settled.

Having now read through all of the posts here, learning that the gun owner was not the child's father, I stand more steadfast in my subtle concerns posted above.

Children, guns, cars....just because you CAN have them doesn't mean that you SHOULD.
@66(laurelgardner) put it best here, I think. There is such a thing as a responsible firearm owner, but they tend not to balk at restrictions on firearms because mostly they consist of things s/he is already doing.

Just as responsible drivers are basically already doing what laws on e.g. wearing seatbelts tell other drivers to do.

If you want to own a gun, you should (by the conservative's very ethical/moral code) take the consequences. Some of which should include mandatory safe practices, intended to protect other people from accidents that careless use causes. If you don't, then you deserve the hell you get. Which is why, even though I understand this guy may be in hell over what he did, still I think he deserves to be punished. A life was lost, and even though bad luck played a major role (the child might have played with something else rather than with the gun), he had safer choices he didn't make.
In a matter of years, handheld laser guns will be a reality. (Military contractors have been developing laser weapons for a while. So have techno geeks.) They won't need ammo, only an electrical charge. They'll be Star Trek phasers, essentially.

Should these laser guns be legal too? You know, because of the Second Amendment? And hunting? And "protection"?

Maybe just for the responsible laser gun owners?

And of course there will be safety measures. So 3-year olds will never blast their heads off with them.
Like @20,

I grew up in a rural area that had families that had to hunt deer to have a plentiful winter's larder. We also had a lot of hunters from outside the area come in to hunt. Anyone that sees the result of what a firearm is designed to do won't just pick one up without knowing how to do so safely. In my case seeing a small garage filled (the entire perimeter filled, and the back half completely loaded) with hanging deer carcases taught me that lesson.

Everyone in town knew not to wear brown or green clothing, even in the center of town, during hunting season. It makes me wonder if that was why scouting jackets were a bright red (1970s and 80s). Hunting accidents were a real threat that no one dismissed, but no one would've considered banning hunting either.

He was a responsible gun owner like Santorum is a human being.

I would never leave a loaded firearm sitting about, I would never leave one around children. Of course, I am not a moron.

If California can take away children of parents who are using medical marijuana, Washington should be able to take away the remaining children in this family.
With the recent debate of allowing concealed weapons onto college campuses, the gun nuts are all about making this legal. They always claim that those who carry are sooooo responsible. And when one of these things happen, it is always an exception... always something that couldn't happen to THEM. I am really not opposed to those who wish to have guns. But don't carry them around, keep them locked away until the hunting season or whatever. The self-righteousness of the crowd who say more guns is equal to less crime... it is unconvincing to say the least.
When the member of another tribe behaves badly it is indicative of the way those people are. They're all like that really, not just the few who get caught.

When a member of our tribe behaves badly they are one of a small minority of bad apples that we are trying hard to identify and either remove or reform. The actions of these few bad apples is no reflection on the vast majority of us, who are nothing like that and are deeply ashamed of those who got caught.

It doesn't matter which tribe it is - drivers, teachers, lawyers, politicians, bicyclists, gun owners, environmentalists, conservatives, etc. If it's one of THEM, they are ALL like that. If it's one of US, it a case of a few bad apples.
@75: Show me a man who thinks that handheld laser cannons will be a reality soon, and I'll show you a man unfamiliar with the energy requirements of a high-powered laser.
I don't think the man was entirely at fault. The safety should have been on, but if a gun is for self-defense then it must be loaded and easy to access (in a safe? c'mon). Although the glove compartment is a much safer bet, obviously, than under the seat.

If the child were slightly older, I expect they would/should have told them to be careful of the gun, never touch it, etc. But they probably did not expect a three year old to find and then play with it and have the strength to pull the trigger. (It is hard to accidentally pull the trigger on a gun unless you mean to.) Yes, it was negligence, but it was fundamentally an accident. I don't think the parents deserve to be prosecuted. They have already paid the highest price a parent could.
@75, perhaps you'll be convinced by this article by Gary Brecher, the infamous War Nerd, on the reasons why laser and other ray guns, despite always being heralded as 'the next big thing', are actually taking such a long time to materialize as real weapons.

I'm not saying the technology won't be developed some day that makes hand-held laser guns a reality, but I am saying you're ignoring some pretty big design problems (including energy consumption, as venomlash said above, plus air and water in abundance as we have on our planet) if you think it's an easy problem that has almost been solved.
@80, 82

Yes, because the history of battery technology is NOT one of decreasing size and increasing capacity.

In any case you miss the point:

Technological "advances" will continue to produce faster, easier, more effective ways of making other people die.

Are we to believe that the Founding Fathers intended for citizens to have the right to bear those arms?

Also, I can't find a definitive answer to this: Can someone fill me in as to whether it is legal for private citizens in the US to bear such arms as grenades, fully automatic rifles, bazookas, surface to air missiles, etc.?
Dan...really...blaming all gun owners because some idiots kid died due to his negligence is like blaming all homosexuals for when a boy gets molested by his uncle. It simple isn't true and you really should know better. I respect your civil rights, hell I even fight for them, I wish you would respect mine. After all firearms ownership is a civil right, as both decided by the supreme court and enumerated in the Bill of Rights.


Private citizens are allowed to own machine guns, bazookas (not much ammo left for those) and grenades. However these are all classified as Class 3 weapons and destructive devices and require a ATF permit along with an extensive background check. The owner must also pay a $200 tax per item, in the case of a bazooka or rpg the owner would have to pay a separate tax for the launcher then a $200 tax on each round of ammunition. Fun fact: The Waco raid was due to a failure tax on a presumed machine-gun, turned out not to exist. You can also own these weapons if you have a class 3 dealer or a title 2 manufacture permit which is extremely hard to get, you need to hire a lawyer to get through all the regulations. there are also exemptions for law enforcement, but in that case the weapon is usually property of the department.…

State laws vary on ownership of title 2 weapons, In WA you can have sound suppressors but cannot own short barreled (under 16 in) rifles or shotguns under 18 inches, fully automatic weapons (machine guns) and destructive devices (grenade launchers, explosives, etc) are also banned. But is Arizona anything goes. Fun fact: a crime has never been committed with a legally owned class 3 weapon. Manufacture of new machine-guns for civilian ownership has been prohibited since 1986, all it has don't is served to make guns expensive with no corresponding drop in crime, as none of these weapons has ever been used in a crime.

Also I think the founding fathers, being firearms enthusiast who fought a revolution against tyranny, would look a modern weapon like an AR15 and say "I wish we would have had a few wagon loads of these at bunker hill."

There is definitely such a thing as a responsible gun owner, I know this because I live in Sweden, and we have the most guns per capita of any nation on earth. Three-year-olds never shoot their heads off here though, the only shootings we have here where actual people get shot involve police and/or serialkillers (and the odd hunting accident).
@84 - A pedophile and a homosexual are in no way the same thing.

You're welcome to own as many guns in a well regulated militia as you like.

Good point, "Fun fact: a crime has never been committed with a legally owned class 3 weapon." It suggests to me that if we extend the same requirements to all weapons we might have a similar rate of all weapons being used in crimes.
Where kids are concerned, swimming pools make guns look like feather pillows.
@83: Trends don't usually continue indefinitely. We're already running into a wall as far as batteries go due to the physical problem of instability. You'll notice that lithium ion batteries are prone to explosion in a way the old alkaline cells aren't.
@#3 the thumb is. That's why accidental child gun deaths are usually so young. They pick it up, and the only may they can pull the trigger is with the thumb, ie barrel towards them.