STATEWIDE — Last Wednesday, a 2-year-old in West Bath Maine found a loaded gun and shot his parents, injuring them.
Even before that happened, some lawmakers were calling for safer gun storage.
The West Bath boy shot his mother in the leg and his father in the back of his head. Both survived their injuries. Some legislators in Maine want to pass a bill that will hold parents accountable if a child has access to a loaded gun and some residents think that’s fair.
“The pressure to pull a trigger on a gun is pretty heavy-duty. I don’t understand how a 3-year-old could actually summon up the power to put the pressure on a trigger on a gun like that,” said Robert Bresten, who is for the proposed legislation.
Bresten said parents should be held responsible and any gun should be stored safely out of sight and never loaded in the home.
“They shouldn’t have it. They shouldn’t have a gun in the house,” said Athena Boulnts, a resident of Bangor.
“One of the reasons that Maine is as safe as it is, is because people are armed legally. We have constitutional carry, most everyone has firearms in their house. They have access to them for defense and I think this is an egregious approach to that safe situation for most people,” said Jonathan Martell, who is against the proposed legislation.
“The committee requested information on the number of prosecutions that had been brought forth and in the situation like what we saw in West Bath or elsewhere, where a child did access and discharge a firearm. There is no record of such a prosecution occurring so it’s clear that there is a void in the law,” said Geoff Bickford, executive director of Maine Gun Safety Coalition.
Bickford said 29 states have laws that protect children from unattended loaded firearms. According to Bickford’s statement from the Maine Gun Safety Coalition, those states include places like Texas, Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia and Florida.
Rep. Vicki Doudera of Camden and Bickford both said that with safer gun storage laws, they hope the rate of teen suicide in the state will go down.