It's a heart-wrenching story. In Kentucky, a five-year-old boy accidentally shot and kills his two-year-old sister with a rifle he received as a birthday gift. The tragedy has led to a debate over how young a child should be before he or she is exposed to firearms. We don't regard that as the main dilemma from this sad story. It is inexcusable for any adult to allow a child near a firearm that has not been secured. It's more than a mistake to be that careless, it should always be regarded as a criminal offense.
In an incident such as what has occurred in Kentucky, a charge of involuntary manslaughter or negligent homicide is not unreasonable. Young children count on their parents to protect them. Bringing a firearm into the home and allowing toddlers access to a loaded weapon is the antithesis of protecting youngsters.
If a parent or other adult provides a gun to a child, whether by giving them a firearm or having a firearm in the home, it is their responsibility to both secure the weapons and make sure youngsters are taught proper gun safety. To not do at least the former is simply criminal neglect.
In the Kentucky case, the rifle was left unattended in a corner of the house with a shell left in the chamber, according to Kentucky State Police Trooper Billy Gregory. These kinds of tragedies happen; every so often there's a case of a child dying or being injured due to accessing an unsecured firearm. Obviously, adults whose carelessness leads to lethal consequences must be devastated, and full of sorrow and regret.
But that sorrow doesn't bring children back who have died due to such carelessness. There needs to always be criminal consequences when an adult allows deadly weapons to be within the reach of children.