The consequences of inattention
September 22, 2004
The tragic shooting death of a Fallon teen recently, followed by an equally tragic death in Minden Sunday involving a teen of the same age, should make every parent who owns a gun stop for a moment.
They should ask themselves a couple of questions. Are my guns secure? Who has access to them? Do my children understand the potentially dire consequences of playing with guns? Does anyone in the family have a casual attitude about guns?
The accidental shootings point out the need for parents to continually lecture their children, not only about the inherent risk of handling guns, but also about the dangers of developing a cavalier attitude toward firearms in general.
This goes for adults and teens who may have hunted for years. Familiarity with weapons leads many to handle them without enough thought about safety. It becomes routine to put a gun in the vehicle or take it out, or load or unload a weapon. But it shouldn’t be routine. The consequences of inattention when handling a gun, showing it off to a friend, or treating it as a toy are severe.
In both cases, the teens who pulled the triggers didn’t know the gun was loaded. The teen who accidentally killed Fallon resident Mark Anthony, 14, didn’t know a round was in the chamber of the .12 gauge shotgun, a common hunting firearm found in these parts. The Minden boy put a stolen handgun to his neck and, also believing the gun was empty, pulled the trigger.
The small amount of time it takes to be extra safe, to talk to young people about guns, to take the time to secure all firearms, is a small inconvenience compared to living with a lifetime of guilt when tragedies like these occur. It only takes a moment of carelessness to bring a whole lot of regret.
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Many of us who grew up in the outdoors can easily think of a close call with a firearm. Many of us also have been lucky that the situation resulted in no loss of life or limb. These two incidents show the worst consequences of handling guns without considering the potential for tragedy.
Nevada requires young hunters to take a safety class before they can buy a license. However, not everyone who has access to a gun is a hunter. Maybe every household with a gun should sign up.
– Lahontan Valley News