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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 1/17/2006 11:00:31 AM EDT
Interesting opinion piece.

www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2006/Jan-08-Sun-2006/opinion/4951446.html

Jessica Lynne Carpenter was 14 years old on Aug. 23, 2000, the morning 27-year-old Jonathan David Bruce came calling at the Carpenter house in Merced, Calif.

Jessica Lynne knew how to shoot -- her father had taught her. And there were adequate firearms in the house to deal with what happened next.


That Wednesday morning, Jessica was home with four of her siblings -- Anna, 13; Vanessa, 11; Ashley, 9; and John William, 7 -- in the San Joaquin Valley farming community, 130 miles southeast of San Francisco.

Bruce, an out-of-work telemarketer apparently high on drugs, was stark naked and armed with a spade fork. He cut the phone lines to the house shortly after 9 a.m., broke in, and immediately began chasing down and stabbing the children in their bedrooms.

Jessica Lynne tried to dial 911. The phone was dead. So she ran to the gun closet.

Then she remembered the new "safe storage law" that had just been enacted in California, and which her parents had told her about. When John and Tephanie Carpenter had left the house that morning, they had locked the gun closet so no one under 18 could get access to the family firearms ... as required by law.

Jessica's only option was to climb out a window and run to a neighbor's house.

By the time Merced County sheriff's deputies arrived at the home, John William and Ashley were dead. Anna was wounded but survived.

As deputies arrived, Bruce rushed them with his bloody spade fork. So they shot him dead. They shot him more than a dozen times.

The following Friday, the children's great uncle, the Rev. John Hilton, told reporters: "If only (Jessica) had a gun available to her, she could have stopped the whole thing." Maybe John William and Ashley would still be alive, Jessica's uncle said.

"Unfortunately, 17 states now have these so-called safe storage laws," then-Yale Law School senior research scholar John Lott, author of the book "More Guns, Less Crime," told me at the time. "The problem is, you see no decline in either juvenile accidental gun deaths or suicides when such laws are enacted, but you do see an increase in crime rates" perpetrated against the newly disarmed victims.

The closest thing to such a law in Nevada is NRS 202.300, which allows children under 18 to be charged as delinquents -- there are exceptions for the armed forces, kids with junior hunting licenses, and so on -- for possessing a firearm except under adult supervision.

Section 2 of that statute makes it a misdemeanor for anyone to "knowingly permit a child to violate subsection 1" -- allowing a kid to carry around a gun -- and a category C felony for a person to do so if he or she "knows or has reason to know that there is a substantial risk that the child will use the firearm to commit a violent act."

But that law is "not unduly restrictive," Clark County District Attorney David Roger says. "It's clear the hunters were involved with the legislative process" when 202.300 was drafted.

So when Syber Wells, age 12 -- possibly distraught over his parents' divorce -- committed suicide with his father's shotgun here in Las Vegas in August, Roger and his county prosecutor's office didn't charge Syber's father with making that weapon available to a 12-year-old under NRS 202.300. Instead, they charged him with "child abuse and neglect" under NRS 200.508, a law which Roger agrees does not mention firearms, at all.

"These are difficult cases," Roger says. "It's not about not letting parents have guns in the home, it's about safe storage. It's not my goal to tell parents how to be parents, but it seems like the whole time I've been here it's just been one case after another like this."

But 12-year-olds who want to commit suicide have plenty of options, which is doubtless why John Lott has found "safe storage" laws don't reduce suicides. If young Syber Wells had instead overdosed on medications pilfered from his grandmother's medicine chest, would granny now be on probation while sitting out a suspended sentence for failing to keep her prescriptions in a locked safe?

"You're right, but it's avoidable in these circumstances," David Roger replies. "Yeah the kid could have gone out and gotten something else, but in terms of firearms it would have been harder for him to get a firearm. It seems to me parents should secure their firearms. ...

"The police chief in Henderson was not crazy about prosecuting these cases. Here you have a father who lost a child. He's devastated. How can the criminal justice system punish him any further? But we all agreed these parents should secure their firearms."

On Dec. 28, Syber Wells' father, Geoffrey Wells, was given a suspended sentence of one year in jail and further placed on three years' probation by Chief District Judge Kathy Hardcastle after he pled guilty to one charge of misdemeanor child endangerment, based on his having left the shotgun unsecured in his home.

So what's the legal standard for "secure storage"?

"It's really common sense," Roger says. "If you have a loaded gun on top of a refrigerator and the child in the house is a baby, obviously it's going to be out of harm's way. But if you have a teenager, that's different. It's on a case-by-case basis. ... There are lock boxes; I've got one in my house. You hit five buttons and you have easy access to your firearms. It may make it a little more difficult to get to our firearms when you're in harm's way, but on balance I think it's more important to protect our children."

So, based on a "child abuse and neglect" statute that offers no specific advice about kids' access to guns -- while ignoring NRS 202.300, in which the Legislature struggled to set some specific standards -- our prosecutors and judges will simply decide, after the fact, on a "case-by-case" basis, how we should have prevented 12-year-olds from committing suicide and charge us criminally if they don't like our decisions.

All while District Attorney Roger insists, "It's not my goal to tell parents how to be parents."

Link Posted: 1/17/2006 11:03:19 AM EDT
Old story, but a chilling example of why "Safe Storage" laws can KILL your children
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 4:23:58 PM EDT
Thats why I have Gun Proofed my kids as did my father, NOT the other way around
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 4:25:32 PM EDT

Originally Posted By NonConformist:
Thats why I have Gun Proofed my kids as did my father, NOT the other way around



+1
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 4:59:24 PM EDT

Originally Posted By NonConformist:
Thats why I have Gun Proofed my kids as did my father, NOT the other way around



+1 Eddy Eagle for starters...
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 5:00:38 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Zakk_Wylde_470:

Originally Posted By NonConformist:
Thats why I have Gun Proofed my kids as did my father, NOT the other way around



+1



It's not our kids we have to worry about, but the gun-ignorant libtard hoplophobes' kids from next door.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 5:01:08 PM EDT
I have been able to use the Merced case in a number of debates against anti-gun types. They usually don't have any kind of intelligent answer.


-K
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 5:04:03 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 95thFoot:

Originally Posted By Zakk_Wylde_470:

Originally Posted By NonConformist:
Thats why I have Gun Proofed my kids as did my father, NOT the other way around



+1



It's not our kids we have to worry about, but the gun-ignorant libtard hoplophobes' kids from next door.



Yep. My dtr is OK with guns. My son is too young. Neighbors kids +5 years older are liberal-raised retards who shouldn't handle firearms.

Link Posted: 1/17/2006 5:16:06 PM EDT
show the kid the key and just tell them that if they ever have to use a gun to defend themselves to tell the cops they found the key weeks ago and that their parents didn't know they had found it
I would hope that'd be enough to keep you from getting charged under the safe storage law
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 5:27:59 PM EDT
Lawmakers are so smart. Make sure everything is locked up during an emergency!
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