Making a firearm accessible to a child.

Making a firearm accessible to a child.

This is a discussion on Making a firearm accessible to a child. within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; In Texas we have: 46.13. MAKING A FIREARM ACCESSIBLE TO A CHILD. (b) A person commits an offense if a child gains access to ...

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Thread: Making a firearm accessible to a child.

  1. #1
    Ex Member Array MMABC's Avatar
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    Making a firearm accessible to a child.

    In Texas we have:

    46.13. MAKING A FIREARM ACCESSIBLE TO A CHILD.

    (b) A person commits an offense if a child gains access to a
    readily dischargeable firearm and the person with criminal
    negligence:
    (1) failed to secure the firearm; or
    (2) left the firearm in a place to which the person
    knew or should have known the child would gain access.
    (c) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this
    section that the child's access to the firearm:
    (1) was supervised by a person older than 18 years of
    age and was for hunting, sporting, or other lawful purposes;
    (2) consisted of lawful defense by the child of people
    or property;

    In this, an unsecured readily dis-chargeable firearm is a loaded gun not secured by trigger lock, lock box, rendering it inoperable, etc. I was thinking about this, in light of Heller, and I wondered where you could leave a unsecured loaded gun in your home where it would be inaccessible to a 16 year old, with the law still complying with Heller. I suppose, in your immediate possession would suffice.

    Only then I saw exception 2 above. I have a 16 year old son. Texas seems to recognize he has a right to self defense too. How can he have a right to self defense if I leave the home and comply with this law? If I leave an unsecured readily dis-chargeable firearm for his self defense, then he, and other younger children, can gain access to it for other than self defense purposes. In fact if he keeps the gun in his immediate possession to limit access to younger children, I've by definition broken the law.

    Seems to me that a prosecutor would now have some difficulty if I leave an older child at home with a loaded gun, and let's say there's a AD/ND. Same problem if I'm at home and leave the gun on a downstairs coffee table with my sixteen year old while I'm upstairs, and same thing AD/ND. What do you think? Now make it an 11 year old child, or in either case a 3 year old gets access to the gun?


  2. #2
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    In North Carolina every firearms dealer must post the following sign and have every buyer sign a statement saying they have read it.

    IT IS UNLAWFUL TO STORE OR LEAVE A FIREARM THAT CAN BE DISCHARGED IN A MANNER THAT A REASONABLE PERSON SHOULD KNOW IS ACCESSIBLE TO A MINOR

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    Quote Originally Posted by msgt/ret View Post
    In North Carolina every firearms dealer must post the following sign and have every buyer sign a statement saying they have read it.
    In North Carolina, minors don't have a right to self defense? In Texas, they do. I just can't leave him with a firearm so that he has a reasonable means of self defense. If he happens to gain access to one through my criminal negligence, and then happens to use it in self defense, well then I'm free and clear. If he has an AD/ND, then I get a Class A or C misdemeanor depending on whether he hurts anyone or not.

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    VIP Member Array Kerbouchard's Avatar
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    The law is not written perfectly, but for the most part, it is enforced quite well.

    A minor can have any access to a firearm the parent wishes to give them, but if the minor does something stupid, then the parent is responsible.

    Exactly the way it should be, IMO.

    If parents were raising their kids right, they wouldn't have to worry about Little Mikey playing with their guns. Or thug Terrel shooting his friend over a disagreement.
    There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.

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    VIP Member Array cphilip's Avatar
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    There are cases where a neighbor child comes over, is alone for a period (your kid goes to the bathroom) and finds a gun (or knows right where it is because your kid bragged and showed him/her) and kills someone or him/her self. What then? Same thing. You cannot teach others kids so its nothing about raising kids right in that case. It happens a lot that the kid killed or the kid doing the killing with a found gun is not a resident of that home.

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    VIP Member Array Kerbouchard's Avatar
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    cphillip, you are correct. There are times when your home is left unattended. But I also have drills, saws, sledgehammers, etc in the garage. I don't care what kind of safe I have, the tools in my home can get through it.

    There is no 100% strategy. But just as there is no 100% strategy, there is no uniform answer to the problem. Each family, and person, needs to do what they feel they need to do to have firearms accessible in case of need, and yet minimize the risks associated.

    If we treated automobiles like we did firearms, nobody would be able to leave the house.

    People routinely leave their keys sitting on their counter, and yet there are surprisingly few occurrences of 3 year olds getting in the car and running somebody over.

    America has gotten too obsessed with trying to prevent EVERY possible incident that COULD possibly result in death.
    There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.

    http://miscmusings.townhall.com/

    Who is John Galt?

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    Ron
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    I have written this before, and will repeat it now, although I know that many on the Forum disagree.

    I don't care how much you have taught your kid about firearm safety, or how much you believe you trust them. I firmly believe that you are looking for a tragedy to happen when you leave a loaded handgun other then in a locked gun safe, when it is not being carried by you. The best of kids, being kids, at times do stupid things.

    Also, your kids friends, other visitors, someone who has broken into your house, all represent dangers when a loaded handgun is readily accessable.

    I don't have kids in my house, but do have two young grandchildren who live nearby and visit frequently. My guns are either on me or locked in gun safes. At all times, no exceptions.
    "It does not do to leave a dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him."

    J. R. R. Tolkien

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    The law says that if a 16 year old gets access to a firearm, I'm guilty of at least a class C misdemeanor, unless he uses it for self defense, then I'm not guilty. That's a catch 22 if you ask me. He can't have access to it according to the law. If he can't have access to it, he can't use it for self defense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerbouchard View Post
    The law is not written perfectly, but for the most part, it is enforced quite well.

    A minor can have any access to a firearm the parent wishes to give them, but if the minor does something stupid, then the parent is responsible.

    Exactly the way it should be, IMO.
    Is that the way it is if a minor takes the car with my permission and then kills someone in an irresponsible accident? Am I guilty of a crime for giving him access to any other kind of weapon like a knife if he does something criminal or irresponsible with it? I'm just wondering why I should be considered criminally irresponsible in particular for a gun?

    If parents were raising their kids right, they wouldn't have to worry about Little Mikey playing with their guns. Or thug Terrel shooting his friend over a disagreement.
    I'm guilty of at least a Class C misdemeanor if I let a 16 year old go rabbit or squirrel hunting unsupervised by someone 18 or over. Apparently, that's something I have to worry about in the state of Texas. I was doing that when I was twelve or thirteen.

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    Ex Member Array MMABC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cphilip View Post
    It happens a lot that the kid killed or the kid doing the killing with a found gun is not a resident of that home.
    I read that firearms are in 50% of American homes. Ten percent have loaded guns, and in 2005 only 74 0-14 y.o. children died from firearm accidents. Of course one, especially yours, is too many, but with respect to writing laws making parents criminally negligent for accidents, that doesn't sound like a lot to me. A lot of children drown in pools. There's been 24 so far this year in Houston alone, more than all of 2007. I haven't heard anything about criminal prosecutions and class A misdemeanor charges.

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    Distinguished Member Array bandit383's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMABC View Post
    The law says that if a 16 year old gets access to a firearm, I'm guilty of at least a class C misdemeanor, unless he uses it for self defense, then I'm not guilty. That's a catch 22 if you ask me. He can't have access to it according to the law. If he can't have access to it, he can't use it for self defense.
    I guess if you trust your son not to touch the gun...unless in self-defense...what's the problem?

    Rick

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerbouchard View Post
    cphillip, you are correct. There are times when your home is left unattended. But I also have drills, saws, sledgehammers, etc in the garage. I don't care what kind of safe I have, the tools in my home can get through it.

    There is no 100% strategy. But just as there is no 100% strategy, there is no uniform answer to the problem. Each family, and person, needs to do what they feel they need to do to have firearms accessible in case of need, and yet minimize the risks associated.

    If we treated automobiles like we did firearms, nobody would be able to leave the house.

    People routinely leave their keys sitting on their counter, and yet there are surprisingly few occurrences of 3 year olds getting in the car and running somebody over.

    America has gotten too obsessed with trying to prevent EVERY possible incident that COULD possibly result in death.
    I agree with you, only what surprises me is how gun owners, who would normally take a gun activist position, are supportive of the state making gun owners criminally negligent for accidents. Even to the point of agreeing with the state making it illegal for a youth to possess a firearm without immediate supervision by an adult. I would think people here would think that's my decision to decide what is responsible for me and my children as a parent, not anti-gun activists and the state government.

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    Distinguished Member Array bandit383's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMABC View Post
    I would think people here would think that's my decision to decide what is responsible for me and my children as a parent, not anti-gun activists and the state government.

    Aah...but you assume too much...that ALL parents are rational and responsible.

    Rick

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    Quote Originally Posted by bandit383 View Post
    I guess if you trust your son not to touch the gun...unless in self-defense...what's the problem?

    Rick
    Why am I criminally irresponsible for misjudging the responsibility of someone under 17? In what other circumstance is a parent criminally negligent for the actions of a minor?

    Why is it criminally negligent for me and not for a farmer? Here's item 4 under defenses to prosecution that I didn't post earlier:

    (4) occurred during a time when the actor was engaged
    in an agricultural enterprise.

    If a farmer leaves his home to go to his job, and his 16 year old has an accident with a gun, that's not criminally negligent. If I do it, I'm a criminal?

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    Ex Member Array MMABC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bandit383 View Post
    Aah...but you assume too much...that ALL parents are rational and responsible.

    Rick
    It's not really the responsibility of the parent though is it? It's the ability of the parent to judge the responsibility of the minor. The state is effectively making it criminally negligent to misjudge the responsibility of a minor.

    And you know why too. The anti-gun activists got a law on the books that effectively makes it illegal to keep an operable gun in the home in that most homes have children under 17.

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