What parenting advice would you give to those who have both small children and firearms in their household? That’s the dilemma that may now be facing North Carolina father Justin Carper. Carper is a church youth group leader and advice columnist. His unpaid column offering parenting advice appears in the Shelby Star, in Shelby, North Carolina. On Thursday, February 6, Carper’s three-year-old son shot his 17-month-old sister with Carper’s 9mm handgun.
This ‘parenting advice’ columnist didn’t think his three-year-old could find and fire his gun.
Carper told the Gaston Gazette that he kept his gun in a secret compartment atop his dresser. At least he thought it was secret. He was amazed that his three-year-old son could climb on a stool, get the gun, and pull the trigger. What is more amazing is that someone who writes a parenting advice column doesn’t seem to be aware that kids will find anything “hidden” that is not actually under lock and key. Justin Carper is probably aware of that now.
Luckily, their baby girl is okay.
Fortunately for the Carper family, the girl was not seriously injured. According to reports, the bullet went through the top of her shoulder. The Gaston Gazette says that the child is expected to be discharged from the hospital after an overnight stay. Chalk this up as a tragedy narrowly averted. Carper says doctors told him that “…there’s nowhere else the bullet could have gone that would have ended up with this story.”
We’re compiling the case and will present the case to the D.A. to determine if any charges will be filed for failure to secure a firearm.
Regardless of the outcome, the parents have been punished more than any criminal justice system can do to them by this happening.
That statement is very likely true. There are two questions that Justin Carper must address now. First, do you continue to keep firearms, especially loaded firearms, in your home? Second, what do you say to readers of your parenting advice column about this incident?
The best parenting advice may be “guns in the house and small children don’t mix.”
Carper may want to share some statistics with his readers, such as these:
- Every hour, a child is hospitalized because of a gun.
- Every other day, a child is killed by gunshots.
- States with high gun ownership rates also have more children who are injured by firearms.
According to Discovery.com, medical student Arin Medenci and his advisor, Christopher Weldon of the Harvard Medical School, found that handguns are responsible for more hospitalizations and in-hospital deaths than any other type of weapon. Madenci sums up their findings:
Based on our research, we know that there is a clear correlation between household gun ownership (and gun safety practices) and childhood gunshot wounds in the home on a large scale.
So, fortunate father and parenting advice columnist Justin Carper has a decision to make. Does he defend his keeping a loaded weapon around his children, or does he tell his readers that if they have children, they shouldn’t have handguns?
Here’s the video, with a report from WSOC TV in Charlotte, NC: