On April 27, 2021, a 5-year-old boy in Elkhart, Indiana, found a loaded gun in his home in the Four Seasons Mobile Home Park. The boy picked up the loaded gun and, while playing with it, managed to shoot himself in the chest.
He was rushed to South Bend Memorial Hospital in critical condition, then flown to The Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis where doctors performed life-saving surgery on him.
Miraculously, the 5-year-old boy is expected to fully recover from his self-inflicted injuries.
The news article makes no mention of who owned the firearm but whoever it is, the owner of that firearm is responsible for the bullet that almost ended this poor boy’s life.
Those are the cold, hard facts.
Next is the part where I will probably make a lot of American gun owners really angry.
Firearm ownership comes with responsibility.
As an ardent defender of our innate human right to protect our loved ones and ourselves, I fully support any human being’s God-given right to own a firearm.
But with that right comes a heavy responsibility.
Whoever left that loaded gun where a child could find it is also responsible for this boy almost killing himself.
Here in Canada, the government imposed safe storage laws on us decades ago.
In America, such laws are viewed as a violation of the Second Amendment.
The Second Amendment protects your right to own a firearm, yes, but that Constitutional right does not strip you of your responsibility to store your firearms safely when they are not in use.
This is doubly true when you have small children.
Firearms are a symbol of individual liberty.
Firearm ownership is the ultimate representation of personal responsibility.
Personal responsibility, in the context of firearm ownership, means making sure nobody can access your guns without your knowledge and permission.
Personal responsibility also means teaching your children firearm safety and safe handling techniques, because when children are taught firearm safety the mystique surrounding firearms is removed.
So, when your firearm is not in use, meaning it is not in your hand or in a holster on your body, please make sure nobody else has access to it – especially small children.
We shouldn’t need the heavy hand of government to force us to do the right thing.
Doing the right thing should be automatic and immediate.
Firearms are useful, life-saving tools in the right hands. They are also deadly weapons capable of destroying lives when in the wrong hands.
If that means storing your firearms in a gun safe when not in use to prevent them from getting into the wrong hands, so be it.
The life you save could be your child’s.