the sock drawer is not “secure storage”.

Sad news item of the morning:

Three-year-old CA girl shoots and kills her younger brother after finding a loaded .45 under her parents’ bed.

Let’s reiterate for a moment:

Guns and small children Do. Not. Mix.  If you have little kids and firearms in the house at the same time, you must keep one away from the other.  Keeping a loaded pistol under the bed, in the nightstand drawer, or on the shelf in the closet does not constitute safe and responsible storage.

That little boy wasn’t killed by his sister; he was killed by the idiot parent who left a loaded and unsecured pistol in a location that’s practically at eye level of a crawling kid.

33 thoughts on “the sock drawer is not “secure storage”.

  1. BryanP says:

    Damn straight. I’ve been guilty of the sock drawer / closet top shelf thing, but the only kids in my house are when my nephew or a friend with a small child visits. In those cases I lock them up.

  2. Weer'd Beard says:

    Doesn’t even take goofy-liberal ideas of “Safe Storage” (Meaning a seperate bunker with DNA and Biometrick locks no less than 3 miles from the ammo-storage bunker…all ammo stored in factory cardboard boxes and magazines in Bunker #3 located in Fort Knox under National Guard survailence)

    Just having a loaded mag in the well and the pipe clear would be an impossible feat for children young enugh not to know better. Hell the WORST risk in that situation is Junior would find the mag button and manage a choking hazard on a loaded cartridge.

    Also I love how this is somehow a different case than if Junior had found a Ginsu knife, or the handle of a pot of boiling water, or maybe some nice tasty lye to eat.

    Negligence is negligence, the misused and miss-stored item is unimportant.

  3. SayUncle says:

    No way. Cali has safe storage laws. This did not happen.

  4. Robert says:

    I keep mine in the bedstand next to my bed. But I don’t have any small children in my house, ever (my girlfriend would disagree with that and tell me to look in the mirror, but thats another story all together).

    While I agree that safe storage is not under the bed, I do have to disagree with “Guns and small children Do. Not. Mix. If you have little kids and firearms in the house at the same time, you must keep one away from the other.”

    I tend to lean more towards the advice given over at The Cornered Cat. Kids have such a desire to play with guns because (and this is just MHO and a few hours of research for a debate I did in college) not only are they a major part of our society, but because they are also taboo.

    Take the taboo out of it, the “OMFGWTFBBQKAKKE A GUN!”, make it a common place thing, and let the kids see them, let them hold them, let them see how they work. Yes, teach them that, when used improperly (or, on the other hand, very properly) they can be extremely dangerous, but if you treat it with respect it is just another tool.

    Then again, I don’t have kids, so I can only go off the advice of others that do.

  5. Dustin says:

    I have to disagree with Robert, in this particular case. There’s no “training” a 3-year old to use a gun properly, or even get them to understand the risk. Three-year old children do not understand death, or serious injury. At a greater age, sure, but you still need to keep the gun away (safely) when they’re not directly supervised.

  6. Jay G. says:

    SEVERELY insufficient data in a biased source.

    I call shenanigans. I doubt that a three year old would be able to lift a .45.

    More than likely, mom’s boyfriend was coon-fingering the gun and pulled the trigger. The three year old happens to be a convenient fall-toddler…

    Other than that, your post is spot-on, Marko. All of my guns are safely locked away, and my kids have had gun safety drilled into them.

    I do have a gun under my bed; however it is in a locked safe that’s bolted to the floor…

  7. Dr. Feelgood says:

    I did top shelf closet storage until my oldest turned 3 (and even then the guns were unloaded and locked open with full mags hidden elsewhere). Then I bought a GunVault and put it in the same location. If my handguns aren’t on my person then they are securely stored in the Vault or they are unloaded and disassembled. Long arms are always disassembled (for now) since I don’t (yet) have a proper gun safe.

    Even though they’re very young my children are learning about all of daddy’s tools, including the guns. This only includes visual familiarization and behavior upon encountering; namely, stop, don’t touch, get an adult. When they’re older they’ll memorize the Four Rules and graduate to airguns. They will never touch a firearm without first reciting the Rules and fully understanding the damage that can be done. My daughter (4) always asks if she’s big enough yet to buy her rifle (pink single-shot .22) when we visit the local MoD. She melts my heart.

    They sing about fire safety in the car, too. “Get out, stay out, dontcha go back in.”

  8. MarkHB says:

    Sad and stupid. And yes, it’s the parents’ fault, regardless of the circumstance.

  9. Jay

    I’ve handled some pretty small .45s that a three year old could lift with both hands. What irks me, aside from the lack of secure storage, is the fact that they had the gun stored unsecured with a round in battery. Had to, no way in hell a three year old will rack the slide on a .45.

    • OrangeNeckInNY says:

      Don’t need to rack the slide on a .45; all the kid would have to do is pull back on the trigger.

  10. Jay G. says:

    I’ve got one of the lightest .45s out there – a Glock 30 – and I think my five year old *might* be able to lift it.

    I still don’t buy it.

    Unless it was a finely tuned single action race gun with an ultra-light trigger, there’s no way this same three year old would be able to lift the gun, maintain it pointed at anything, and squeeze the trigger.

    This was a parent either fucking around with a loaded gun or being evil.

    • Marko says:

      Jay,

      consider the evidence. Plenty of kids have become unwitting gelatin blocks because their parents thought “there’s no way a kid that small can pick up that gun/work the trigger/figure out how to undo the safety.”

      Also, you don’t need to pick up a gun to fire it. Kid slides it out from under the bed, smaller brother crawls into the room to check out what’s going on, girl works trigger of prone gun with both thumbs while muzzle is pointed at little brother, and…*boom*.

      Never underestimate the mechanical aptitude of a toddler, or their hand strength. They can be regular engineers when they’re motivated.

    • perlhaqr says:

      Is your 5 year old particularly small?

      I was half the weight my (remarkably small) 4 year old nephews are now when I was born. I was always in the 99th percentile for height and weight as a kid. I remember learning how to change a tire when I was 3. Some kids are just bigger than others. (At 6’5″ and 250#, I think it’s safe to say I stayed bigger than the other kids, too. 😉 )

      I suppose I could always drag my G20 over to my nephews and see how they fare with it.

  11. Sigivald says:

    JayG: What Madrocketscientist said.

    Not all .45s are full-size 1911s. There are some very small ones that a three year old could lift. And if they’re striker-fired or already cocked, they could work the trigger.

    Combine that with a round in the chamber and you get a very, very unfortunate *bang*.

    A fully loaded Glock 36 weighs 27 ounces. An AMT Backup .45 doesn’t weigh much more. The Colt Defender is 22oz, unloaded.

    I’m pretty sure one of your stronger 3 year olds could lift that with both hands long enough to accidentally discharge.

  12. Dr. Feelgood says:

    bakersfield.com is reporting that it was a Glock shoved between the mattresses in her parents’ bedroom.

    • Marko says:

      Ouch.

      A gun with a five-pound trigger and no manual safety, left unattended at kid height, with a round chambered.

      That’s some Grade A parental and safety FAIL right there.

  13. Windy Wilson says:

    I have a 3 year old nephew. I’ve seen what he can do, and I therefore have no faith in child-proof caps except those that require a LARGE hand. I don’t think he could rack a 1911, but the rest? No sweat. With a round in the chamber I think it would be entirely possible for a 3 year-old’s finger strength to move a safety from safe to fire, and even actuate a 3 lb trigger. It would not even have to be pointed in any particular direction for long to result in an unfortunate accident, as Marko said.

  14. I too feel strongly about one’s right to ‘bear arms’, but those rights include responsibilities. I have been dealing with and writing a lot this week about closed doors and open doors – not in the usual sense of locking the front door; rather, the other types of doors we need to lock versus throw open. I have to admit I did not include locking a sock drawer as part of my equation — but this is one door that should have been locked. There was a legal and a moral obligation to keep it locked. Guns need to be behind locked safe doors and not left anywhere anyone who is not the owner can get ahold of it! We always owned guns but they were locked in a safe – still are. Our sons were taught safety from the beginning. Even as they played with toy guns they understood not to point it at another person. When I did see them point it at each other, the guns were taken away and destroyed until they were a bit older and would remember the rules. All of life has consequences when one does not obey! In this instance it was an innocent little one who paid the price…sad. The gun is not what killed that baby, the irresponsible adult who left a gun not locked away is who killed that little one and added mental trauma to another little one who will know all her life she killed her brother. My she find peace!
    Bonnie(valentinoswife)

  15. Dave says:

    I have a nineteen-month-old son and there’s not a doubt in my mind he could lift a 1911. We’re only talking two-and-a-half pounds empty (what, three with a mag?). They need more strength than that just to lift themselves off the floor to start walking. And a five- or six-pound trigger may seem like a lot to an index finger, but consider if he got his thumb in the trigger guard–very strong position.

    Could a three-year-old could hold a gun in a Weaver or isosceles stance and fire it? Probably not, though you might be surprised. Could he hold it close to his body and manipulate it in a way so as to drop the hammer on an already-chambered round? You betcha.

  16. Kaerius(SWE) says:

    Piece of cake for a 3 year old. At 3, I played with squirt guns, and could lift my BMX with training wheels enough to get it over obstacles I couldn’t ride over, like 8″ high wooden edge around the local sandbox.

    Those, and catching a one pound rainbow trout while ice-fishing are pretty much my only memories of that age.

  17. Sevesteen says:

    95% chance that the 3 year old wasn’t the one that pulled the trigger. virtually every case like this I’ve followed up on finds other huge risk factors–Drugs and/or felons in the house, police visit the address often, subsidized housing, boyfriend (with domestic violence convictions) babysitting the kid from his girlfriend’s previous relationship.
    Doesn’t mean you leave guns around kids. If there’s kids, guns are in the direct physical control of an adult, or locked.

  18. […] way this could have happened since California has safe storage […]

  19. Treat your guns like you treat your porn, and other adult items. Outta sight, and outta reach of little kids.

  20. Jay G. says:

    A Glock?

    No way in hell that kid pulled the trigger, I’m sorry. That trigger requires quite a substantial amount of pressure to go bang. I own a Glock 30. You have to make a conscious effort to pull that trigger.

    You’re expecting me to believe that a three year old can pick up a two-pound gun with a thick grip *and* manipulate a DAO trigger?

    No. Defies credulity here, folks.

    Look, I’m not saying that a three year old couldn’t lift a .45. What I’m saying is that the odds of a three year old lifting a Glock .45, holding it steady, and pulling the substantial trigger are long odds indeed. I’d be more inclined to believe the story had it been a 1911 left cocked and unlocked. But a DAO semi-auto? NFW.

    Is it possible? Sure. But I don’t think it’s probable…

    • Marko says:

      Jay,

      here’s a 1-year-old shooting himself with a .40-caliber Glock:

      http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20090512/LOCAL07/305129900/1043/LOCAL07

      Three-year-old shoots cop dad through the back of the driver’s seat with father’s issue Glock:

      http://www.lawofficer.com/news-and-articles/news/Glock_Denies_Blame_In_Anaheim_Injury_Shooting.html

      Two-year-old shoots little brother in the face with .40-caliber GLock:

      http://www.news-sentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/SE/20090512/NEWS/905120310

      Two-year-old shoots herself with reserve deputy’s gun (article doesn’t mention the brand, but the department issues Glock 22s):

      http://forums.officer.com/showthread.php?t=119153

      Two-year-old shoots, kills man with gun found on table (article doesn’t mention the brand, but the kids was able to work the trigger, obviously):

      http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1935837/posts

      Those are just the ones I found by Googling “toddler shoot Glock”. Now consider that the Glock’s five-pound trigger pull is rather light and short compared to a revolver or a DA/SA semi-auto, and tell me that you’re 100% sure that a.) a three-year-old can’t pull the trigger on a Glock, and b.) all those cases were covered-up murders or negligent homicides by dopeheads and gangbangers.

      Tell you what: we can do a documented experiment under controlled conditions. I have a two-year-old right here in the house. Stop by sometime, and we’ll have a few beers and some steaks off the grill. Bring your Glock, and we’ll clear it and let my toddler try and squeeze the trigger. How much are you willing to bet on the fact that she can’t make your Glock 30 go “spoink”? (I’ll cheerfully put up any amount you’d like to wager.)

      Hell, if I wasn’t worried about someone calling Social Services on me, I’d even make a video and put it up on YouTube as proof. Might save some lives, after all.

  21. julie says:

    heard about this on our news bulletin this morning (Perth, Western Australia) and immediately thought “stupid parents”!

    Did wonder about the ability of a 3 y.o. to shoot a gun – but as i have two little ones and have seen what they can achieve when motivated i don’t discount that it may have happened as reported.

    Very sad for all concerned.

  22. Jay G. says:

    Well, I stand corrected.

    I’m still not convinced that *this* incident was the three year old, but I’ll concede that it is possible.

    Maybe it’s just that it’s been a long time (3 years) since I had a toddler around the house.

    Not that I want to correct that, mind you… (well, visits are okay…)😉

    • Marko says:

      Any time you want to borrow a few, let me know. I’ll let them go and visit with uncle Jay for a week or two. 😉

  23. Tiffani says:

    I don’t usually jump into *any* conversations about guns, but I think in some cases there is a lack of imagination when it comes to how a gun can be fired in this sort of situation.

    Sure, a 3-y-o girl may or may not have the strength to pick up a hand gun. But who’s saying that she picked it up? Or used her index finger to pull the trigger? Couldn’t the gun have been fired from on its side? Say the gun is on a bed, pointing away from the girl and toward her brother, who is standing on the other side of the bed … and she grabs at it and several of her little fingers curl into the trigger guard? That’s really all that’s needed. It’s not necessary for her to actually pick it up and aim.

    • Marko says:

      Yes, the gun could have fired without her holding it, as long as she put enough pressure on the trigger.

      The evidence I quoted to Jay further up the comment thread indicates to me that yes, a three-year-old does indeed have the strength and dexterity to pick up a gun and fire it.

      That’s why it’s criminally negligent and mind-bogglingly stupid to leave a loaded pistol where it can be accessed by a young child. They’re too young to understand safety instructions beyond “don’t touch”. They’re also impulsive and have little self-control or regard for consequences, which is why we don’t let them drive, vote, or engage in contracts.

      You know I support the right to gun ownership, but I make absolutely no excuses for the parents of that kid. They’ve clearly demonstrated that they cannot handle the grave responsibility that comes with owning a firearm.

  24. Sevesteen says:

    It is possible for a 3 year old to pull the trigger. It is mind-bogglingly stupid and irresponsible to leave a gun where a 3 year old can get it.

    However, I’m still convinced that most of these situations are shifting the blame to a patsy rather than a 3 year old pulling the trigger.

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