However, with any great power comes great responsibility. When an American chooses to purchase and keep or carry a firearm, this means that the weapon must be respected, and all laws regarding the use must be obeyed. There are many reasons for this, and while the misuse or careless use of a gun is against the law, perhaps more important is that the improper use of a gun can lead to injury or even death. And if that happens, the law holds the owner of the gun legally responsible for the consequences that come after.
A Powerful Tool
A gun is like a hammer, a lawnmower or even a swimming pool. It is neither good nor bad, it is simply a product that is manufactured, bought and used by Americans everywhere. How they decide to use it is up to individual Americans. A hammer can be used for carpentry, or, in the heat of the moment, a weapon of combat. A lawnmower can be used to keep grass trimmed, or, in a moment of carelessness, cause someone to lose toes or fingers. Even swimming pools can be used to cool during a hot Florida summer, or, if no one is watching, become the perfect locale for a child to drown.
And all of this applies to firearms. A gun is for hunting, and it may even be used for self-defense in the event of a home invasion, or an assault on the streets. But with guns, accidents are rarely harmless. The whole function of a gun is to deliver a devastating, incapacitating amount of force at a minimum, or enough to destroy a limb or organ at maximum. And when people forget this and use guns as casually as a hammer or a swimming pool, the consequences can be tragic.
Accidents Do Happen
Between the years 2010 and 2015, in Florida alone, 3200 children were injured—or killed—as the result of a gun-related accident. That averages to approximately one Florida child shot every 17 hours. It has resulted in over $75 million in insurance from groups like Medicaid and Florida Kidcare paying for treatment, with approximately another $25 million being parents paying out of their own pocket for accidental gunshot injuries.
The most frightening aspect of these statistics is that in the case of younger children, that is, under the age of five, the majority of shootings took place either in the home or at the home of a friend/relative. In most of these cases, it was because precautions weren’t taken to ensure that firearms were not easily accessible by the children. For example, in Orlando, in February 2016, a 13 year old boy named El’Jay was visiting relatives, playing a video game, when he was shot in the back of the head by his cousin, who had been holding a gun while riding a hoverboard behind him and had an accident.
In these cases, especially where children underage are involved, it is not the fault of the child who pulled the trigger. The responsibility, in this case, the premises liability, lies with whoever owns the property.
If someone close to you has been injured—or even killed—by the accidental discharge of a gun in someone’s home, or other location, the accidental nature of the event does not absolve the gun owner of responsibility. You can take this to court as a personal injury case where our accident lawyer can get you the resolution you need for a premises liability case. Even if a homeowner didn’t mean to harm or kill a child, that doesn’t mean a homeowner shouldn’t take responsibility for what should have been an easily preventable tragedy.