A 5-year-old Texas boy accidentally shot himself with his babysitter’s gun while she was napping on Monday, M. Alex Johnson of NBC News reports.
The babysitter, Melissa Ann Ringhard has been arrested on a felony charge of abandoning or endangering a child, which carries a
sentence of six months to two years.
The Vidor Sheriff’s office said Ringhard, 19,
left her semiautomatic .40-calibre handgun on a coffee table and took a nap before discovering the boy in the living room.
“People have the right to bear arms, and with that comes great responsibility,” Orange County sheriff’s Chief Deputy Clint Hodgkinson told KFDM-TV of Beaumont. “If someone, somehow, puts a firearm in a place where a child is able to get that weapon, you’ve committed an offence.”
“Sometimes, it takes something like this — as tragic as it is — for people to reflect on those things, and these are the opportunities you take … to say, ‘Look, what could we have done?'” Hodgkinson said.
A pawn shop owner explained to KFDM that there are several ways to prevent a similar situation by properly setting a gun lock.
“You can rack slide back lock it leave the magazine in it and you can run the lock down the barrel of the gun and lock it and it’s impossible to shoot,” Jim Hedrick, owner of J.J.’s Pawn Shop, said. “You can take the magazine out of the gun, which is what we suggest to do and run the lock down through the magazine so that way you can’t load the gun or shoot the gun this way either.”
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