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Many of you have probably already read about the 12 year old Nevada boy who shot and killed a teacher and wounded two fellow students.

Now, police say charges may be brought against the parents of the 12 year old.

If so, and if the facts bear out, I say its about time.

If people knew that with the right to own a gun came serious, heaping loads of responsibility and accountability for owning that gun, do you think they'd think twice about buying one or owning one?

In GunFail after GunFail diary, we see a recurring theme - "tragic accident". Folks, in most of these cases, they are not tragic accidents. They are gross negiligence, serious acts of irresponsibility. Cleaning a gun while loaded?  PLEASE !!

In this specific case, its not clear how the child got the gun. What is clear is that it came from the parents' home.

If its proven that the weapon was not secured and was freely accessible to this child, then the parents should be held responsible and liable to the fullest extent of the law in both criminal proceedings and civil proceedings brought by those affected.

However, if Nevada law is correct, they may never be held criminally responsible:

Nevada law bars any person from knowingly permitting a child to handle or possess a firearm except under adult supervision, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Did you catch that? "Knowingly". This is just pathetic. Unless it can be proven he parents knowingly permitted their kid to access or handle a dangerous weapon, they get off free, at least criminally.

Our laws need to change. Along with rights come responsibilities and accountability. People who are responsible for "tragic accidents" need to be held to account for serious, reckless negligence and prosecuted as such.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/...

Originally posted to fcvaguy on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 03:53 AM PDT.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Agreed nt (4+ / 0-)

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 04:10:29 AM PDT

  •  just to clarify, to take your concept farther, (6+ / 0-)

    then you would advocate criminal charges against parents whose child took their car without their knowledge and/or permission and struck a pedestrian?  
    What would be the cut off age for a parent to be so responsible for an child's actions?  16 or 18 or 21 or even 35? There are possible arguments for each cutoff age.

    I don't know for sure but if I remember correctly, a parent in most states can be held civilly liable for a child's misdeeds but not criminally liable.  Here are a few links:
    http://www.mlive.com/...
    http://www.ojjdp.gov/...
    http://voices.yahoo.com/...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    Of course this begs the question as to if incarceration is an effective deterrent or if we really need to further criminalize more activities so we can fill even more prisons.  Any in-depth discussion would involve these dimensions of the discussion.

    •  answers (5+ / 0-)
      then you would advocate criminal charges against parents whose child took their car without their knowledge and/or permission and struck a pedestrian?  
      absolutely.

      And for more information, I totally buy into the free-for-all gun proponents guns=cars fallacy. See here:

      I Concede: Guns are like Cars

      And, to be clear, I'm not talking about criminalizing "activities". I'm talking about criminalizing crime. Making a gun unsecured and freely accessible to a 12 year old should be a crime. And, I'm perfectly fine with imprisoning responsible gun owners who aren't responsible.

      •  I am not arguing that guns= cars (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        andalusi, BlackSheep1

        I was asking the question if you were advocating a broadening of present law to criminalize parents' behavior behind their children's criminal acts.  However then there are the questions for example, if the parents are divorced is only the custodial parent responsible or if the couple is intact, are both parents liable for prison time?  Then can we get into if grandparents may also be held responsible or perhaps can a neighbor or family friend be held responsible if a teen steals a gun from their home?

        Would this mean a parent could be jailed if his kid is selling drugs?  In short you are proposing the complete overhauling of our legal code where people become remotely responsible for actions taken by others, when no conspiracy is involved.  As you may be aware, the concept of guilt by conspiracy is a uniquely 20th Century concept and has been greatly expanded since 9/11.  So has the concept of guilt by association since 9/11.  I am not sure our justice system would be well served by a redefinition of criminal liability to include guilt by relation.

        On the other hand, if you are adamant about this POV, I would suggest that you first prove that incarceration works as an effective deterrent to criminal behavior    

        •  No overhaul required (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WakeUpNeo

          Some of your equivalences are way out there.

          First of all, custodial parents isn't the issue, or kids selling drugs isn't the issue.

          The issue is who owned the gun and who failed to secure it properly to ensure a 12 year old didn't get his/her hands on it?

          It could have been the uncle, the aunt, the grandfather, the cleaning lady. It doesn't matter. What matters is WHO is the IRRESPONSIBLE gun owner.

          •  however, you are expanding the concept (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BlackSheep1

            of criminal liability whereby, as laws are today, even a negligent owner can possibly escape criminal penalties for unlawful use of his property.  You propose laws which would make the property owner absolutely responsible for the unlawful use of his property, even if the property were stolen.

            Moreover, you are suggesting that firearms represent a special class of property making them unique from all other classes.  Some here have even suggested that handguns represent a special class themselves alone, unique even from long guns.
            The problem is that laws tend to generalize so if you do manage to change the laws to absolute criminal liability by the gun owner, you will find with time and with litigation, that other classes of property will ultimately be included in consideration of criminal liability.  This is how the concept of precedence operates within the judicial system as basic concepts are extrapolated to other situations.  

            •  There is no new class of laws I'm proposing (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              WakeUpNeo

              I'm suggesting that criminal negligence, which is used throughout our system of law, be applied when it comes to the irresponsible actions of responsible gun owners. Leaving a gun hanging around for a 12 year old to grab is not "forgetfulness" or a "mistake", its irresponsible negligence that resulted in someone dying and two children being shot. That, in my mind, is a perfect case of criminal negligence on the part of the gun owner.

              Guns are a special class of property - they serve one purpose - to kill. Even responsible gun owners will say that. Property which is designed to kill should be handled with care and safeguarded so that they do not "accidentally" kill people. If you fail to do so, you should be held criminally responsible.

    •  The car was left on the playground with the doors (5+ / 0-)

      open, engine running and radio blasting.

      That would be if a car was like a gun.

      Any person who loses a gun regardless of outcome, should lose the right to possess a gun for many, many years. They really need encouragement to keep their heads in the game.

      Only gun owners can control their guns and they say oopsie way too much. I lost it, I forgot it, it just went off. Support Gun Kill Speed Limits and Gun Ownership Speed Limits.

      by 88kathy on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 06:55:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I hope you will forgive me if I do not make a (3+ / 0-)

        more lengthy response but since I have had guns stolen in the past, you will understand that I would argue that would be as logical as having the licenses suspended for any driver who has his car stolen.

        All it would do to penalize people who find their guns stolen would be to discourage people to first of all purchase guns which must be registered and to secondly discourage owners from reporting such thefts.  I fail to see how either outcome would further your own philosophical goals

        •  I am saying losing your deadly weapon (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wilderness voice, JamieG from Md

          does not equal losing a car.

          If you can't KEEP a deadly weapon, you have no business owning a gun. By my rules your gun ownership privilege would be gone till you are a very very old man.

          And your plural guns, backs up what I say, people replace stolen guns without a care, while the community is dodging the first gun, the second gun is coated with butter.

          Loss of gun ownership privilege for breach of basic gun handling common sense would keep their heads in the game. It would raise the ante for gun owners. Right now they have nothing to lose and oopsie is an excuse not a crime.

          Only gun owners can control their guns and they say oopsie way too much. I lost it, I forgot it, it just went off. Support Gun Kill Speed Limits and Gun Ownership Speed Limits.

          by 88kathy on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 08:01:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  again, as you have elsewhere, you are advocating (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            grover, BlackSheep1

            for legal treatment of gun ownership that is different from legal treatment of all other types of property and a level of liability which is not seen with any other class of property.  What you propose is in excess of what is expected for ownership of explosives.

            •  Well the 2nd Amendment treats guns differently (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JamieG from Md

              from all other types of property. Or has that been repealed already. I know 2nd Amendment demonstrators have been ramming their guns up everyone's nose at the Alamo and Starbucks. I wonder if they have gotten their point across yet.

              Only gun owners can control their guns and they say oopsie way too much. I lost it, I forgot it, it just went off. Support Gun Kill Speed Limits and Gun Ownership Speed Limits.

              by 88kathy on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 08:23:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  please do not assume responsible gun owners (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                BlackSheep1

                support these people.  Most of them are ill trained and poorly equipped to own firearms.  They are no more supported by the general gun community than the general population of drivers support DUIs

                •  The RGO's and the names they have called me (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Tailgunner30uk, JamieG from Md

                  and the way they have treated me since December 14, 2012, tell me a different story. And I'm not the only one. It is a common experience here, and out in the real world, well, I wouldn't fight them for a parking space.

                  So if the general gun community doesn't support them, why no counter demonstrations from the RGO's.

                  Only gun owners can control their guns and they say oopsie way too much. I lost it, I forgot it, it just went off. Support Gun Kill Speed Limits and Gun Ownership Speed Limits.

                  by 88kathy on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 09:03:06 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  It's crazy thinking. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BlackSheep1

              A dog owner can be held criminally responsible if they allow their dog to wander free and it does significant personal harm to another person.

              But if someone steals the dog and the dog then harms another person (even a young member of the thief's family), I can't imagine that the original owner would be civilly much less criminally held responsible, even if the dog is a scary breed like a pit or a rotti.

              Animal control would return the dog to its original owner, perhaps suggest rehabilitative training, and might monitor now and then.

              But probably not.

              The idea that property is forever linked to its owner (and yes dogs, like guns are property) is simply a crazy idea that ignores the reality of our society.

              I live in a safe community. But stuff gets stolen here, as it does everywhere. If someone steals my St Francis statue off my lawn and bashes someone else upside the head with it, I guess under this crazy theory, I'm responsible for that too.

              I should have kept St Francis locked up.

              © grover


              So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

              by grover on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 11:40:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You guys forget your guns at the drop of a hat. (0+ / 0-)

                That is my problem. Lack of concentration.  If you invested as much thought into keeping your gun in your possession and not misfiring your gun there might be less of it.

                Please don't think I want to talk about you and your gun. I want to talk about the guns that are being flung with great abandon and get out of jail freeness.

                Only gun owners can control their guns and they say oopsie way too much. I lost it, I forgot it, it just went off. Support Gun Kill Speed Limits and Gun Ownership Speed Limits.

                by 88kathy on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 10:10:27 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  The purpose of a car is not to kill people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CenPhx

      The purpose of a handgun is to kill people. Very different from a car. The correlation isn't killing people with a car, the correlation is taking a parent's car and driving to the mall, or taking a parent's gun and using it to kill people.

      So, yes, I think there should be criminal charges if a parent doesn't secure his or her gun and the child takes it and uses it to kill people.  Of course, there should be some extenuating circumstances, such as if the child commits suicide without hurting anyone else--you can't punish the parents any more than losing the child already did.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

      •  there would be an argument that a handgun (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BlackSheep1

        is meant to kill people as its sole purpose but I think that would not fly as an argument unless you are also willing to include long guns in your argument.  Do you include long guns as only having the purpose of killing people?

  •  YARGO, Jr. shot himself, classmates and teacher. (7+ / 0-)

    Thanks in part to the apparent negligence of YARGO, Sr.

    12 fucking years old. Not gonna see 13.

    YARGO. YARGO. YARGO.

    (Yet Another Responsible Gun Owner)

  •  I understand your rage at the issue at hand. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah, FrankRose, andalusi, BlackSheep1, ER Doc

    I cannot share your reaction to it. Guns can only be kept so secure. Even a gun safe is not immune from a vengeful preteen. Combinations can be found for it. Keys can be found for it. If the desire or perceived need for a fire arm is strong enough that individual will get one by any means available.
    Lock up the liquor cabinet and or the prescription pain meds and an addict/alcoholic will find a way to get them. In cases like this I think we are treating the symptoms instead of the disease. I think that the desire to lash out and blame someone, anyone, for this kind of action is normal. It is also the road to perdition paved with good intentions.
    Let's know everything about what happened, why we think it happened, and what are the best realistic solutions moving forward. A rush to judgement is very easy to do. It does not make it the smart thing to do. Judgement is not the same thing as justice.
    Think critically about the whole issue all the way through it.
    Its really easy to read and react. It's comfortable and safe. It really hard and uncomfortable to do the other stuff. I urge you to slow down and think before you charge the "enemy". You might just be rushing head first into a mirror.

    Give blood. Play hockey.

    by flycaster on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 04:48:12 AM PDT

    •  I understand your point (7+ / 0-)

      but surely, some is better than none. And surely, just become something may seem difficult doesn't mean we shouldn't try at all.

      I think with rights come responsibilities and accountability, and after many, many GunFail diaries it seems very clear to me that the mentality of many gun owners is all about rights and not about responsibility or accountability.

      •  I agree that there must be something done. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fcvaguy

        Several somethings. But they must be thought out carefully before you do them.
        I want a background check for anyone who wants to own a fire arm for any reason. No exceptions. No loopholes.

        I want a national standardized training course on the use of fire arms. Not a four hour course. Four weeks. A minimum of 120 hours of classroom and range instruction.

        I want persons own fire arms to be required to have a gun safe where they store those fire arms when not in use.

        I want a national gun registry data base. That way the fire arm is registered to the owner. It also makes tracking stolen fire arms easier.

        I want an assault weapons ban. You do not need one to hunt with. Ever.

        These would be my opening positions. I do have fire arms. I do hunt for the pot. My children all know how to use fire arms, and just what they are to be used for. I am ex military. There is a safe in the house.

        These all seem realistic and sane to me. But I know how reality works and how theory fails. Until we sit down and have a national conversation about this, we will continue to have these kind of problems.

        Give blood. Play hockey.

        by flycaster on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 09:53:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  If you don't have a place or the will to keep gun (9+ / 0-)

      secure and you have children, you are liable. This defies the  false meme' that there are "Responsible Gun Owners."  You either have the ability to provide safety or you don't. Don't play games with your children's lives.

    •  A gun is a gun 24/7, if you can't KEEP it 24/7 (4+ / 0-)

      that just may mean you need to rethink what a gun means to you.

      If you lose it, regardless of outcome, you should lose the right to own a gun for many, many years.

      Only gun owners can control their guns and they say oopsie way too much. I lost it, I forgot it, it just went off. Support Gun Kill Speed Limits and Gun Ownership Speed Limits.

      by 88kathy on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 06:58:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  88kathy: not just no but HELL NO (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        erush1345, ER Doc

        a person whose home is broken into and a firearm stolen is a VICTIM of a CRIME, committed by a criminal.

        You want to further abuse that victim by taking away his or her right to replace stolen property?

        You're completely wrong.

        Or are you advocating also the loss of rights to own chains, hammers, baseball bats and kitchen knives????? For how long? In perpetuity?

        LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

        by BlackSheep1 on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 11:50:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The "knowingly part" is probably (7+ / 0-)

    necessary for the statute to be valid.  We generally don't criminalize negligence, and we definitely don't hold people criminally liable for the wrong acts of another, even their children, if the parents didn't know about it until after it happened.  You can hold them civilly liable, but criminally responsible is an entirely different story.  Criminal liability generally requires an intent, or at least knowledge of your criminal acts.  

    For example, suppose the parents keep a gun under lock and key, and keep it unloaded.  Suppose unknown to them, the 12 year old knows the secret place they keep the key, and while they are out, gets the key and gets the gun.  Can you say the parents committed a crime?  Civil liability, sure.  But criminal culpability is an entirely different thing.  

    I had this discussion in conjunction with the discussion of holding parents liable for the bullying of their children when the bullying leads to another child's suicide.  

    Children, even as young as 12, unfortunately sometimes do criminal acts.  For criminal culpability of the parents, the law generally requires that they know about those acts and fail to stop them.  If that's the case, I'm all for imposing criminal culpability on the parents.  Absent that, civil liability may be appropriate.  I believe that parents have to have some accountability for the acts of their minor children.

    •  Here's a great write-up on Criminal Negligence (7+ / 0-)

      It already exists in many states in many regards other than guns.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      United States[edit]
      Examples of criminally negligent crimes are criminally negligent homicide and negligent endangerment of a child. Usually the punishment for criminal negligence, criminal recklessness, criminal endangerment, willful blindness and other related crimes is imprisonment, unless the criminal is insane (and then in some cases the sentence is indeterminate).
      I think its time that "tragic accidents" become what they really are - criminal negligence.
    •  They should TAKE THE KEY with them (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      88kathy

      Not leave it at home.

      Problem solved.



      Women create the entire labor force.
      ---------------------------------------------
      Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

      by splashy on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 06:26:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  coffeetalk: your example presupposes criminal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ER Doc

      liability -- for the parents.

      Like charging liquor distributors (not bartenders, but the suppliers they buy from) for making alcohol available in the wake of a DUI.

      See the parallel?

      The parents' liability here is at best a shaky indirect chain, because if you say they're liable for the actions of a child for having a firearm kept under lock and key and unloaded, you're criminalizing the keeping of firearms securely in private hands.

      I believe that parents have to have some accountability for the acts of their minor children.
      Now we know that's what 88Kathy and others want, but is it what you meant to suggest?

      Because laws that make it a crime for parents to unknowingly furnish an implement of harm to their children WON'T just cover firearms.

      Cars.
      Baseball bats.
      Motorcycles.
      Hammers.
      Kitchen knives.
      Loose bricks and rocks.

      Beginning to see the problem here?

      The Jewish culture of bar and bat mitzvah has some strong recommendations to it IMNVHO when it comes to adjudicating who's to blame for the criminal act of a (legal) minor.

      If that person is old enough to know (and revel in) hurting somebody -- like the stalkers of the girl who jumped off the concrete tower recently -- that person is old enough to face charges and punishment under the law.

      I would strongly suggest parents' liability for the misbehavior of a minor child using some implement the parents own, but in a criminal fashion without the parents' knowledge / permission/ supervision/ assistance, should be as strictly limited as possible.

      LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

      by BlackSheep1 on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 11:56:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Seems obvious (5+ / 0-)

    That the gun was not "secure".

    And doesn't the argument the "guns can only be kept so secure" conflict with the concept of "responsible gun owner"?

    •  Excuse my butterfingers. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JamieG from Md

      We really need to repeal the haw haw haw, that was close gun laws.

      Every breach of KEEP, regardless of outcome, should be greeted with loss of the right of possession for many, many years. This might keep their heads in the game. As it is now sloppiness is an excuse not a crime.

      Only gun owners can control their guns and they say oopsie way too much. I lost it, I forgot it, it just went off. Support Gun Kill Speed Limits and Gun Ownership Speed Limits.

      by 88kathy on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 07:02:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I would also hold liable (3+ / 0-)

    ...any staff at the school who were aware of the soul crushing bullying against the 12 year old shooter -- and did nothing to put a stop to it.


    [ O Recommend   O Hide   O Bitch about this at the Help Desk ]

    by Pluto on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 06:28:59 AM PDT

    •  Of course bullying needs to be addressed. (0+ / 0-)

      But these loosey goosey gun owners really need to get their heads in the game. They should lose the right to possess a gun long before murder happens. Without question, losing your gun should mean loss of the right of possession for many, many years. But that is unheard of. haw haw haw, that was close is the protocol for gun handling.

      I am thinking this same gun was likely involved in close call incidents before the dead zone was entered.

      Only gun owners can control their guns and they say oopsie way too much. I lost it, I forgot it, it just went off. Support Gun Kill Speed Limits and Gun Ownership Speed Limits.

      by 88kathy on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 07:24:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Treat guns the way we treat cars. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CenPhx, Avilyn, WakeUpNeo

    Require safety factors to be built in.  License the gun and the owner.  Pay an annual registration fee.  Carry insurance.  Require training prior to licensing.  Institute SWI laws, confiscate guns that are in the possession of a drunk shooter.  Jail time for shooting while drunk.  Insurance would lead to reporting of thefts, or you keep paying to cover a gun you don't own.  

    It makes sense to treat guns like potentially dangerous objects, the way we do with cars.  

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 09:17:19 AM PDT

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