The Paw Print
Gun safety is an issue that many fail to acknowledge. Most people would agree that being cautious around weapons is necessary, but as of 5pm Tuesday, two young children in different cases have shot and killed friends and family. Many blame the incidents on gun negligence.
Six-year-old Brandon Holt was spending time outside with his four-year-old neighbor last Monday when the incident occurred. Reports state that Holt and his friend were playing together with parents standing nearby. No fighting had broken out, neither of the boys were upset, and nothing seemed wrong with the situation at hand.
Then the four-year-old boy retreated into his house. He found his father’s .22 caliber rifle, loaded with the safety off, and came back outside. A shot was let off, and the bullet struck Holt in the head. Though his parents scrambled to get an ambulance, Holt was pronounced dead the next day. It is still unclear whether the boy pulled the trigger or if it was an accidental discharge.
A similar and equally frightening incident happened just days ago involving another four-year-old. While Wilson County Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel Fanning was showing off his guns to a relative, his wife Josephine Fanning entered the room. Unbeknownst to them, Josephine had been followed by her four-year-old nephew. Deputy Fanning set his personal pistol on the bed; in a split second, the young boy grabbed the gun and it went off, killing Josephine Fanning.
Deputy Fanning insists that this was not a case of gun carelessness. He states adamantly that the only weapon he keeps loaded in the house is his personal weapon, which is usually on him. He never leaves other guns lying around, and had simply removed his pistol for a brief moment. However, these brief moments are all it takes for accidents such as this to happen. These mistakes cannot be unmade.
In the case of Brandon Holt, police have not yet decided whether or not to file charges. If they do decide to file charges, there is also the question of who they would be filed against. Cases such as this are not only hard to handle because of the sensitive nature, but because scenarios like this are complicated, and few and far between.
“It’s a freak accident,” says one spectator. “Two similar happenings like this so close together? It’s almost unreal. The families must be suffering, and I cannot begin to think of the lives ahead of those two four-year-olds. Just a tragedy all around.”
Because of these incidents, law enforcement is encouraging lessons in gun safety.
“We need to make this clear that these are not a toy,” says Adam Wiltenburg, gun safety instructor. “Children nowadays need all the lessons they can get in how to properly function around guns… Accidents like this should never happen, and we as gun-carrying citizens need to make it our duty to educate the less-knowledgeable around us, for everyone’s safety.”