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4-year-old Shoots Self with Dad's Gun

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by jph02, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. jph02


    Jun 10, 2012
    A 4-year-oldDetroit girl shoots herself in thigh with father's gun. It happens to be a Glock 9mm, but could be any handgun. The father had a CPL, so that's not the issue.

    Despite the video saying the parents are "overprotective", I wonder a couple things:
    • Why was the 4-year-old still up at 2345 (11:45 PM)?
    • Why was she playing in the freaking car?
    • Why, if the neighborhood is "changing", was the weapon unsecured in the glove compartment?
    • Who lets their kid play where there's a loaded handgun?
    As far as speculation there will be no charges, how about child endangerment or child neglect? At least the little girl will be ok. :shakehead:
  2. RJ's Guns

    RJ's Guns

    Dec 25, 2010
    I do not understand; for as long as I can remember, when I was growing up my family and relatives had loaded guns all over the place, with no problem whatsoever. I specifically remember that there was at the least, a centerfire rifle, a 22 LR rifle and a shotgun hanging on rifle racks in the front and rear porch areas that were there for “dispatching” varmints, predators and animals harassing the livestock. If memory serves me correctly, my friends had somewhat similar situations. Guns were easily accessible and no one shot themselves or others.

    A while back, I asked my 88 year old Mother about having loaded firearms that were accessible to my brothers and myself when we were growing up and she said that it was not a problem and that when my Dad said “don’t touch” something unless we were supposed to, he meant it and we knew what that meant. It was my brothers’ and my duty to make certain that none of our friends “played with” any of the guns or there would be “hell to pay” and it is an understatement when I say, that would not be good. I learned to shoot very early and I got my first 22 LR (a J.C. Higgins single shot) at six or seven.

    Therefore, my question is; why was having firearms around seemingly not a problem for my generation (I am almost 62) and now it seems like I read about some kid shooting themselves or others every few weeks.

  3. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    Jun 12, 2002
    North Carolina
    Generally speaking, you're correct. But there were plenty of firearms accidents back in the "good ole days". Second, every kid is different. I've raised, or am currently raising, three daughters and one son. Two of them I could count on to not touch something. The other two are guaranteed to touch something, even a gun, if they are/were told not too. I got into my father's guns constantly, along with his liquor and his Penthouse mags. To think that simply telling a kid not to touch a gun makes it safe to leave them lying around loaded is a big mistake.
  4. RJ's Guns

    RJ's Guns

    Dec 25, 2010

    My Father did a little more than just tell me not to do something. He, like Teddy Roosevelt, believed in the “speak softly and carry a big stick” approach coupled with the belief in the old adage; “spare the rod and spoil the child.” Suffice it to say, there was not a whole lot of spoiling the child going on. My brothers and I, my cousins, etc. all turned out pretty good under that approach. All of us could be counted on not to touch something if that is what we were told, as the saying goes; “we knew better.”

  5. DonD


    Dec 21, 2001
    Central TX
    I agree, I was a compliant kid, my Dad was in charge and I didn't cross him but some kids will not listen and will do what they want.

    It is also not reasonable to make a child responsible for ensuring his/her friends don't handle uncontrolled, loaded firearms. Way too much pressure on a child.

    So...lock'em up when you're not there. Child's death is awful, legal pain you'll suffer not a lot better. Don
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2012
  6. hogship

    hogship It's MY Island

    We are also talking about a 4-year old, here.........

    Very few that age will not touch. It's ok to have firearms around a four year old, under supervision, but to say Dad said not to touch isn't enough for the majority of kids this age..........I have one son that learned how to shoot at age 4, but he couldn't be trusted alone around guns at that age.

    Who knows why this incident happened, but all firearms should be out of reach, or locked up until the child has earned the right to be trusted. Not all kids are the same......some are more compliant than others, because all mature at a different rate......but, this particular kid, obviously, wasn't mature enough to have earned that trust.

    Last edited: Jul 16, 2012
  7. Mercedesrover


    Jan 26, 2008
    A child's life is far too precious for a parent to rely on their parenting skills and their child's good behavior.

    My father died when I was very young and I was raised by a very caring and responsible step-father. And I was an obedient boy. Still, that J.C.Higgins 12-gauge pump was too hard to resist. I wore that thing out cycling the action when they weren't home. No gun safes back then. Had there been ammo around I would have touched it off. Make no mistake. And like I said, I was the good kid out of us three.

    I am a father of an almost 2-year old boy now. He is the best thing to happen to me and I can't imagine the thought of anything happening to him because I was an idiot and thought he was a good boy. He is into EVERYTHING!!! Tractors, tools, cars...whatever. He want's to know what everything does and how everything works. Lock up your guns, lock up your guns, lock up your guns. I don't give a sheet how "good" and "obedient" you think your kids are, it is sooooo not worth the risk.

    My wife has trouble understanding why I carry a gun almost everywhere when they're with me. She doesn't understand my paternal instinct to protect him and her. Just the same, I want to protect him for every danger I can here at home. Hoping that me telling him "don't touch" isn't good enough for me.

    By the way, My father (it's not enough to call him my step-father) turned 87 this year. A while back he gave me that J.C.Higgins. It sits in the safe for the most part but once in a while I still go down and cycle it a few times...Just for old time sake. Old bastard never had any Penthouse magazines though! Dammit!!
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2012
  8. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    Jun 12, 2002
    North Carolina
    A four year old, or at least most 4yo kids, don't have the impulse control to always do what's right. Teenagers know better and may or may not "behave", but a 4yo is still going to run out in the street, touch the stove, or a gun if they aren't watched over.

    In the "ole days", the kids in my neighborhood rode our bikes wherever we wanted, and came home when it was dark. Ah the good ole days when you didn't have to worry about things. Well, one of my class mates crashed his bike going down the big hill in the neighborhood and died three days later at age 5. Another kids was molested in the woods walking home from school when I was in the 3rd grade. And this was in a classic American suburb where the police literally picked up the black factory workers waiting for the bus and drove them to the next down down the line so everything looked "perfect".

    I'm no fan of billy joel, but he had a great line: "The good old days weren't always good and tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems."

    BTW, there's another story in the news about a 3yo that got his father's 45 and killed him (father).

    The way my 5yo boy is, I could take a switch to him and he'd still jump off the top of the jungle gym. And if I let him do that thinking he'll learn that it hurts when he lands from that high up, he'll just graduate to jumping head first off the thing and becoming a cripple. So I just watch his every move, always.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2012
  9. The kids who accidentally shot themselves to death 40 years ago aren't here to post about how when they were kids nobody locked guns up.

    Train the kids and lock the guns up. At some point you as the parent have to decide when your kid can have access to a gun.

    I'll put myself out on a limb and say at 4 my son would not have played with a real gun. He was taught enough by then about the differences, the rules, what guns can do to animals, and that he could ask me to see any gun under supervision any time he wanted. However, I still kept my guns locked up, just in case my assessment was wrong :)
  10. RJ's Guns

    RJ's Guns

    Dec 25, 2010
    How about in the 1800s. Only fools on the frontier (and they usually did not last long) did not have loaded guns around for protection against marauding/raiding Indians and other bad people. Not to mention, protection against animals or for hunting. If the firearms were not loaded, there was ammo around so that they could be loaded. There were no gun safes. Rifles/shotguns were loaded and propped against a wall or hung on a wall, over a door and such places that they could be accessed in a hurry in response to an emergency. Pistols were loaded and hung in a holster over a chair, placed on a table or dresser, etc. There were kids of all ages around in that type of environment.

    I am a history buff and I have been studying the old west for about 30 plus years. I collect diaries, books and manuscripts written during that time. I have rooms with bookcases and filing cabinets filled with that material. I have never read an account of a young child or teenager shooting themself or someone else playing with a firearm. How was it that the parents of that time could control all ages of children and keep them from shooting themselves and/or others and parents of today wring their hands and opine that kids cannot be trusted and lament that the only thing that can be done is to lock the firearms in safes, etc.

    It appears to me that the reason has to be that the parenting practices and procedures have changed drastically from that time (1800s) and the present. If the bottom line is kids are shooting themselves and others now and they were not doing so in the 1800s, when guns were much more prevalent, then I fail to see any modern day improvement in said parenting practices and procedures. Maybe there is a lesson here.

  11. Caver 60

    Caver 60

    Jun 12, 2007
    Got to agree with you RJ. Especially the last paragraph.

    Our society today doesn't want to 'warp their little kids personality by making them 'obey.' That combined with a healthy dose of violent TV, violent video games, and violent movies; sets them up for trouble. And I know I'll catch 'you know what' for suggesting video games, movies, etc. make people violent. But IMO they do.

    And don't go telling me Willie Coyote made children violent. There is a difference between that and todays gratuitous violence.

    When I was a kid, by the age of 10 I couldn't stand to even point my cap pistol at another kid. And I'd been shooting real guns since about the age of 5 or so, under dads strict supervision of course. And I also knew better than to ever touch one of dads real (always loaded and unlocked) guns unless he was there with me, and gave me permission to handle the gun, after he had unloaded it. Even then, I knew to be very careful where it was pointed, even though dad had just unloaded it.
  12. You might be right, but how do we know what the child gun accident rates were? Do we even know now?

    If an accident happens, it's all over the news, internet, and makes it seem like it is happening in your town everyday.

    I haven't researched the issue, either now or then. I'm just stating my skepticism about knowing historical rates about this stuff.

    On the one hand it would make sense for kids to be trained and safer if guns were a more common tool back then. I don't even know the rates of gun ownership. There was that book that said it was low, then I guess it was debunked. But I didn't read any of the scholarly debate on the subject. Gun ownership rates would be easier to know than those concerning causes of death.

    People make a living studying this stuff. These are great research questions :)
  13. TexAg


    Jun 26, 2004
    One of the biggest differences between then and now is kids don't get to see what guns really do. A lot of kids don't get to see a bloody hole in the deer Dad just shot or hear the really loud bang or see the dead animal where there was a live one before. I think that makes a big difference.
  14. jph02


    Jun 10, 2012
    Premature death from lots of causes was more commonplace in the 1800s, too. I'm not so sure someone being killed by a negligent discharge would be any more remarkable than dying as a result of being thrown from a horse or trampled by the oxen, for example. Not reading about it doesn't mean it didn't happen.

    While guns were more prevalent, especially along the frontier, I'm also not so sure that means they were more accessible to kids. Life was tougher and more physical then. The younguns might have played around the house, but the accessible guns were probably strapped on the menfolk who were out in the fields, working the mine, or whatever. Older kids were out helping dad or working some other kind of way. They likely went to bed after dinner when the holstered gun got slung over the chair.

    No gun safe, but I just don't think guns were that much more accessible. When they did become more accessible, the kid had been taught how to clean, maintain, and shoot the thing. He'd likely been hunting and knew what they could do. By then, even if pre-teen, kids recognized the gun as a tool and understood its purpose; it was not a toy or a novelty.
  15. Boats

    Boats Not Assimilated

    Dec 22, 2002
    Somewhere in Oregon
    Wrong. It could be a lot of handguns, but not ANY handgun. Some are harder to negligently fire by children than are others.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2012
  16. JAS104

    JAS104 NRA Life Member

    Apr 2, 2012
    I think education is a factor here as well. Like the other guys in this thread I grew up around guns. I'm pretty sure I shot Dad's J-Frame before I learned how to throw a baseball. There were always guns around, and after a while I was intimitely familiar. I could touch them whenever I wanted, as long as Dad was around, and after a few years I got really familiar with Hopps #9, haha.
    My Fiance was the same way, spare her having to clean them. Her Dad did security at Yankee stadium, had two early Glocks. Needless to say, she's actually a good shot.
    Point is, gun safety starts early. And this little girl needs better parenting.
  17. FAS1


    Dec 4, 2009
    San Antonio, TX
    Toddlers are just curious and going to play with anything they find. As they get a little older education is one of the first lines of defense in protecting your kids. The father had a CCW permit and was suppose to be proactive in keeping their neighborhood safe according to one story I read. I wonder what his reasoning was to leave his gun unsecured in his vehicle? Even those cheap ($30) cabled lockboxes would have made a difference here, but I still don't believe in leaving a gun in a vehicle for storage.

    I bet he now has different opinion of a Truck Gun!
  18. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    Jun 12, 2002
    North Carolina
    That's great. I'm a movie buff. I've watched movies form the 1930's, back in the halcyon days of your upbringing, that were all about violent youth gangs. If you're going to be a history buff, you should be a little more objective about it.

    There is lot's of bad parenting now. there is more of it now. Bad parenting lead to this girl's shooting, and many more that are more tragic. But bad parenting didn't start with color TV or the electric light bulb.
  19. SFla27


    May 1, 2012
    South Florida, USA
    Agree on locking up all firearms when not being worn on your person with kids in the house (kids = younger than....25? :dunno:).

    Don't know the CC laws for Michigan, but depending on the circumstances, one proactive measure would be to physically carry the pistol on your person when driving your car, eliminating the need to keep it in the glove box, especially if there are toddlers and young kids around.
  20. WarEagle32


    Mar 15, 2011
    Lots of interesting points!