When reckless gun owners fail to properly store guns, children and others can die

by Jim Orr

Sadly, the evidence shows that many gun owners in this country fail to safely store their firearms, leaving them easily accessible to unauthorized, dangerous users such as children. At least ten different public health studies have found that Americans are poorly storing their firearms. The studies show that millions of guns are kept loaded and unlocked and that millions of children live in homes with loaded, unlocked firearms. Hundreds of children die in accidental shootings each year in this country.

Everyone on both sides of the gun control debate agrees that guns owners must store firearms securely so that they are inaccessible to unauthorized users such as children. The NRA agrees that gun owners should “store guns so that they are inaccessible to children and other unauthorized users.”

Just last month in Texas, young children were involved in several accidental shootings because children were able to access loaded guns. Most recently, a two-year-old boy in East Texas, who found a 9-mm pistol in a bedroom of his great-great-grandparents’ home, died after shooting himself in the face. The boy apparently carried the gun to his own bedroom, where the accident happened.

Earlier last month, an 8-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed a 5-year-old friend with a .22-caliber rifle, according to police in Denton, Texas. The boys had been playing in a bedroom of the 5-year-old’s home around 11:30 a.m. when the shooting occurred, and police said that two adults and a teenager were also in the home.

Also last month, a 5-year-old shot his older brother with a rusty rifle as they played in the bath in Houston. According to the police, the boy accidentally fired a bullet from the .22 caliber weapon into his 7-year-old sibling’s lower back. It was unclear how the younger boy obtained and fired the weapon but the state is investigating and could press charges against the child’s parents for leaving the rifle unsecured.

Gun owners and gun sellers who fail to safely store their firearms can be held liable for money damages when unauthorized users gain access to those guns and use them to cause harm. The family of a 6-year-old New Jersey boy accidentally shot and killed by a 4-year-old neighbor has recently filed a lawsuit against the neighbor’s parents. Authorities say the boy got his hands on a loaded .22-caliber rifle from his parents’ bedroom. The boy went outside and fired a single shot, striking the 4-year-old in the head. In addition to the rifle, the children in that household, aged 4, 8, and 12, had access to more bullets and several other unsecured guns: a Stevens 12-gauge shotgun, two Harrington & Richardson shotguns and a Remington 12-gauge shotgun, police said.

HO&P Fighting for Children and Families

To successfully bring a personal injury or wrongful death claim on behalf of a child, clients need an experienced, educated attorney on their side. They also need an attorney with the financial resources to take the case to trial.

At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we are proud of the work we have done on behalf children who have been unfortunately injured as a result of the negligence of others., including:

  • $36 million jury verdict for a child who suffered brain damage and other serious injuries in a bus crash on the way to church camp
  • $6.7 million verdict in a personal injury lawsuit against the United States for medical errors at a VA hospital, which caused permanent brain damage to an 8-year-old child
  • $2.2 million jury verdict in a personal injury lawsuit involving improper discharge of a newborn from the hospital with low glucose levels, resulting in moderate brain damage

If your child has suffered a serious personal injury or death, contact Heygood, Orr & Pearson for your free case evaluation and to learn more about your legal right to compensation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out the free contact form located on this page.

by Jim Orr

Jim Orr is a licensed attorney and a partner at HO&P focusing on business and personal injury litigation. Jim was selected multiple times to the Super Lawyers List and has tried 70+ cases to verdict.