This is a discussion on Parents will be prosecuted within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Originally Posted by Sticks We do not want laws coming down the pipe that read identical or even close to the one in New Zealand ...
It's a sad situation all around, and easily avoided. And now the irresponsible parents have to take their punishment, and in effect further punish their children. But the punishment is necessary.
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
NRA Life Member
I read that in Texas, unfortunately, a 12 year old shot and killed another boy recently. Now the parents are being charged with a misdemeanor, likely a Class A misdemeanor with up to a $4000 fine each and simultaneous incarceration up to a year each (they have at least two minor children).
I'm curious about Texas penal code 46.13, Making a firearm accessible to a child. It may make sense on the surface, but this is kind of a strange law. Basically, it says that anyone making a loaded gun accessible to anyone under 17 unsupervised commits a Class C misdemeanor and a Class A misdemeanor if anyone is injured with the gun.
First of all it says loaded, which literally means bullets in the gun with or without one in the chamber. Does that include having a box of shells or a loaded magazine accessible as well? Is it a defense to prosecution to say the gun was unloaded when I left the house? If so, then it would seem prosecution would be virtually impossible. If not, then it seems Texas has a law on the books similar to the DC gun ban for every household in Texas with minor children under 17. No firearm could be kept in the home without being locked or made inoperable.
Second, where do they get 17? That's an absurd age isn't it? An almost 17 year old would likely be charged with negligent homicide as an adult. When could the parents of an almost 17 year old minor ever be charged under this law? A year later the president can arm him with an M16 and send him off to war, and that's responsible, but a year earlier, a parent could be criminally negligent just leaving a gun accessible? I can understand 6 years old, but somewhere between 12 and 17? I'm not seeing criminal negligence.
Third, it's a defense to prosecution that you're a farmer. A farmer can leave a loaded gun accessible to children, but his neighbor, a welder can't. If the welder's son is shot at the farmer's house, that's just an accident. If the farmer's son is shot at the welder's house, that's criminal negligence? How does that work?
Fourth, how is this law even constitutional under the Texas constitution? "Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the lawful defense of himself or the State; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime. " How can you defend yourself with an unloaded or locked gun, or how can you keep the most common firearms for self defense, like a shotgun, in your house loaded but not "accessible" to children? How does the legislature regulate keep and bear when the constitution only gives them authority to regulate wear?
Sec. 46.13. MAKING A FIREARM ACCESSIBLE TO A CHILD. (a) In this section:
(1) "Child" means a person younger than 17 years of age.
(2) "Readily dischargeable firearm" means a firearm that is loaded with ammunition, whether or not a round is in the chamber.
(3) "Secure" means to take steps that a reasonable person would take to prevent the access to a readily dischargeable firearm by a child, including but not limited to placing a firearm in a locked container or temporarily rendering the firearm inoperable by a trigger lock or other means.
(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;
(3) was gained by entering property in violation of this code; or
(4) occurred during a time when the actor was engaged in an agricultural enterprise.
(d) Except as provided by Subsection (e), an offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.
(e) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor if the child discharges the firearm and causes death or serious bodily injury to himself or another person.
(f) A peace officer or other person may not arrest the actor before the seventh day after the date on which the offense is committed if:
(1) the actor is a member of the family, as defined by Section 71.003, Family Code, of the child who discharged the firearm; and
(2) the child in discharging the firearm caused the death of or serious injury to the child.
(g) A dealer of firearms shall post in a conspicuous position on the premises where the dealer conducts business a sign that contains the following warning in block letters not less than one inch in height:
"IT IS UNLAWFUL TO STORE, TRANSPORT, OR ABANDON AN UNSECURED FIREARM IN A PLACE WHERE CHILDREN ARE LIKELY TO BE AND CAN OBTAIN ACCESS TO THE FIREARM."
Oh, and don't be too sure about the punishment part. They're only charged with a Class A misdemeanor. They haven't been convicted. The law says they would have had to "with criminal negligence:failed to secure the firearm; or left the firearm in a place to which the person knew or should have known the child would gain access." Just because the child had an accident with the firearm doesn't necessarily mean the parent was criminally negligent. The prosecution has to make the case. They have to find a jury in rural Texas that will convict, and a judge will have to actually levy a punishment.
What I read of this, is if the child is unattended (i.e. parents aren't home) and the gun is loaded and not locked up, it's a violation.
The way to avoid this is to lock up, unload, or otherwise render your arms undischargable while you're out and the kids are at home.
The unfortunate thing is that the law appears quite subjective, "to take steps that a reasonable person would take". I hate the reasonable person clause.
The agricultural thing I admit is a bit odd; but not having a background in agriculture I'll have to assume there is some kind of explanation for the exemption.
"and suddenly I can not hold back my sword hand's anger"
Yeah...I have to take a different road on this one. The following statement represents my own personal opinion with no legal standing, knowing full well that my personal opinion in 9 out of 10 cases is contrary to "law".
I can't see anything from this article that would lead me to blame the parents or bust them for criminal negligence. I'm of the opinion that by the age of 12, that a "child" is old enough to understand the outcome of their actions and take responsibility for them as such.
It doesn't matter whether the parents locked the gun in a brinks truck or left it sitting on the kitchen table. The type of person that is going to "play" with a gun or be irresponsible with it is going to get to it one way or another. It's not the parents fault if the "child" accessed the firearm without their consent while they weren't home. The "child" is a volitional being like the rest of us and made a conscious decision to act of his own accord.
let the flaming begin...
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It says a "readily dischargeable firearm" is a gun that is actually loaded, but do you really get past this law if you have a loaded magazine right next to an empty gun? Can you just say, "hey it was unloaded last time I saw it," and get the kid to testify that he loaded the gun? If that's the case, I'm not sure how they ever get a conviction except for cases involving the youngest children.That's what I'm saying here, but like I said, it's not just while you're out. It's while you're home too. Virtually, that leaves parents facing the DC gun ban. Short of carrying a rifle, shotgun, or handgun with you at all times, there's no way for a parent to keep a gun for self defense.The way to avoid this is to lock up, unload, or otherwise render your arms undischargable while you're out and the kids are at home.They narrow that subjectivity by saying including but not limited to basically locking it or making it inoperable. If you do that, what's the point of having it loaded? It's got to be unloaded or inoperable or you've got to be virtually carrying it at all times. Otherwise a child up to 17 years old could certainly get their hands on it. They might argue that's reasonable for a handgun, but what about the other most common classes of firearms like rifles and shotguns? Do you have to carry around a shotgun on your shoulder at all times if you want to defend yourself at home?The unfortunate thing is that the law appears quite subjective, "to take steps that a reasonable person would take". I hate the reasonable person clause.Yeah, the answer is obviously politics. Outside of the politician's rationale, I'd like to see the court's rationale.The agricultural thing I admit is a bit odd; but not having a background in agriculture I'll have to assume there is some kind of explanation for the exemption.
I read a story here a while back where, as I recall, a toddler shot himself with a LEO's handgun, while the father was in the room. It's a conviction under this black and white law, but I'd be hard pressed to convict if I was on the jury.
Did you guys notice this little blurb?
"The Harrison County grand jury has recommended prosecution of Richard Brown, 33, and Rachel Brown, 37, on misdemeanor charges of endangering a child by allowing a firearm to be accessible to a minor. The grand jury decided against filing felony charges in the case."
Of course the implication here is that the grand jury considered felony charges against the parents, but decided to go with just a misdemeanor. I suppose that's news worthy.
At the bottom of the story, we see it was the 12 year old that faced the felony charges. Apparently, he was arrested on negligent homicide charges. The kid faced felony charges, not the parents. Interesting how they reported that.
Sad story indeed the boy will have this to carry for life,
But have to agree with Sticks on this.
It's not that difficult. A person simply has to want to learn. Many things are far more difficult than learning four basic rules, simple handling, simple firing.
Where's a childhood full of outdoorsy, nature-rich activities that involves camping, survival type learning, hunting and similar things? Where, indeed. Live in a vacuum, and you get children and parents who don't have the first clue.
When I was 10 I had a 30-30, a .22, and a 20 ga on a rifle rack above my bed. Ammo was usually sitting on my dresser.
I guess my parents, grandparents, uncles, cousins, etc should all be arrested.
I can't believe the membership of this forum is participating and even encouraging this nanny-state nonsense.
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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