A New Gun Problem: ‘Responsible’ Gun Owners Leaving Loaded Guns All Over The Place

Epidemic of loaded guns lost - and found - in public places sweeps US

From Disney World to public restrooms, responsible gun owners are leaving their loaded guns in places where children and dangerous criminals can find them. Gun and bathroom photos from en.Wikipedia.Org.

More guns means less violence right? Wrong. More guns means more guns. If you’ve ever lost your purse, wallet, keys or cell phone, chances are you know how easy it is to leave something behind that you’re used to having with you all the time. If you’ve never lost your loaded gun, chances are you’re not a “responsible” gun owner.

 Pro-gun Congresswoman Ellmers isn’t as “responsible” as she claims.

In October GOP congresswoman Renee Ellmers reported that her gun had gone missing from her Kansas home. Ellmers, who left her AR-15 leaning against a locker in her unlocked garage, is an avid gun rights supporter. She claims that gun owners, like herself, are totally responsible and don’t need the government interfering in their business. As it turns out, however, Ellmers, like too many other gun owners, isn’t as responsible as she claims. Hopefully, her missing gun will not be used to murder someone. But even if it does, surely we can’t blame her? She’s a “responsible” gun owner, after all.

After Missouri House staffer, Dave Evans, left his loaded gun in the men’s restroom of the State Capital Building on September 23, 2013, the incident drew a brief flurry of national media attention. It also drew the typical right-wing responses about all the “responsible gun owners” in the world. Except, you know, when they leave the gun in the bathroom…

Loaded guns lost, left lying around, forgotten, or misplaced by “responsible” gun owners.

The reality is that more guns have not meant any less violence. On top of that, the increase in the number of guns being bought and carried under new, more lenient gun laws, has created a whole new problem. More guns are going missing. More guns are also being left lying around, forgotten, or misplaced by some “responsible” gun owner. The chances are increasing every day that some kid will kill someone with a loaded gun left lying around.

Someone lost their loaded gun beneath a chair cushion in an NYC hotel. Another gun was found on a ride at Disney World.

On April 17th 2013, someone lost their loaded gun beneath a chair cushion at a hotel in lower Manhattan. The casual visitor who sat down on the couch, and discovered it, was lucky it didn’t go off.

On May 30th a grandmother getting ready to board Disney’s Animal Kingdom Dinosaur Ride with her grandson, found a loaded gun lying on the seat of the ride. The haunting question, what if a child or teenager without an accompanying adult had gotten on that ride instead?

“Some kid could have picked that up and shot himself or hurt other people on Father’s Day.” — angry dad whose son found a loaded gun in the men’s room of a movie theater.

On Fathers day (June) a nine-year-old boy found a loaded semi-automatic gun in the mens room of a movie theater in Tampa, Florida. The boy thankfully gave the loaded gun to his dad, who was rightfully outraged at the dangerous situation created by this “forgetful,” but supposedly responsible gun owner. That loaded gun was left behind by an off duty police officer who was also watching a movie at the theater. The father believes that some sort of punishment is in order. The nine-year-old, who was not named in the story told reporters “Some kid could have picked that up and shot himself or hurt other people on Father’s Day.”

“Little kids don’t know and they think it’s a toy.”

Moving over to Texas, in July of last year, an armed guard working for the Rochester Armored Car Company, left his loaded weapon in a public restroom, at a Weslaco convenience store.

“Little kids don’t know and they think it’s a toy. And they could shoot someone right at the store. A guy could come and rob the store with that same gun. You don’t know what’s going to happen. That’s pretty bad,” said Luis Salazar, a Weslaco resident.

A Cincinnati, OH man came home to find that a burglar had left a note in his car.

On September of 2013, a Cincinnati, Ohio man came home to find that a burglar had left a note in his car. “LOADED GUN: Unlocked Car = STUPID” the note read on one side. On the other side “LOTS OF Children in Area.” The man’s car was not stolen, but his “throwing knife, sheath, .40 caliber pistol and magazines” were all taken from his unlocked Toyota Corolla. The man’s 76-year-old neighbor commented on the crime: “I have my grand kids come by. Having a loaded gun is no good, no good. That guy should be spoken to.”

Think about that for a second: a criminal took the time to scold a “responsible” gun owner for putting children at risk.

Of course there’s no evidence that the man accidentally left his loaded gun behind, in his unlocked vehicle, in a neighborhood where children play. In fact the evidence suggests that this was a habit, not a random incident. How about Congresswoman Ellmers? Does she routinely leave her loaded gun unsecured, in an unlocked garage?

There are far too many examples of loaded guns “forgotten” and left lying around.

There are far too many examples of loaded guns “forgotten” and left lying around. They turn up in homes, garages, public buildings and restrooms. The guns are often left behind in areas where children or violent criminals could easily discover them. Like the two loaded guns left in a tent outside a furniture store, in Georgia. And the one loaded gun left in a courthouse restroom in Dallas, Texas.  If the NRA continues to control the national debate on gun control, we can expect to see more and more of these types of incidents.

Sometimes the stories have happy endings, but not always.

Sometimes the stories have happy endings, like the one where the “responsible gun owner” dad left his loaded gun on a TV tray in the living room. That little girl discharged the gun, but was not injured during the incident. But many other times they don’t. Like the 5 year old boy who shot and killed his two-year-old sister with a loaded rifle left in the corner of the room. Or the off duty law enforcement officer who left a loaded gun in the glove box of his family vehicle. His two children, alone in the car, found the gun. The officer’s seven-year-old daughter was shot by his son, whose age was not disclosed. She died at the hospital. Or the parents who left a loaded gun out for six-year-old Brandon Holt and his four-year-old friend to find.

Responsible? At least 5 people were shot at gun safety rallies on a single day, in January of 2013.

In September of 2013, after a gun legalization rally in Ohio, a loaded magazine was left behind in Oberlin’s Park Street Park. The purpose of the rally was to show how responsible gun owners are. What’s a loaded magazine left lying around though, when at least five people were shot at gun safety rallies on a single day, in January of 2013.

It’s past time for sane gun control legislation.

I think it’s one thing if consenting adults want to shoot each other in the name of gun safety. It’s something else altogether when children can’t safely use restrooms, or ride the dinosaur at Disney or play in neighborhood parks, without being put in danger. It’s something else when parents and grandparents have to worry that their children could find a loaded weapon and kill themselves or someone else, in an unlocked garage, unlocked car, public park or restroom.

It’s past time for sane gun control legislation. It stands to reason that if we allow more and more guns in our society, more and more guns are going to be left behind. More and more innocent lives will be endangered or worse, ended, because of forgetfulness or carelessness on the part of “responsible gun owners.” Reason and sanity tell us there’s nothing responsible about opposing sound legislation, which could protect the innocent and vulnerable. If protecting the innocent interferes with someone’s “rights,” so be it. Children have rights. Parents and grandparents have rights. All human beings have rights, not just the right-wing nut jobs who have been controlling policy on this issue for too long.