When children fire guns are parents responsible? - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

When children fire guns are parents responsible?

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Two big questions remain after a 12-year-old boy allegedly opened fire at his Nevada middle school.


A math teacher was killed and two students injured before police say the 7th grader shot himself.


Investigators reveal they believe the Ruger 9mm semi-automatic handgun came from the boy's home.

"We don't know all the facts in the Nevada shooting yet, so we don't know if the gun was loaded," said Johnny Sutton, a former state prosecutor and U.S. Attorney. "Let's talk about what Texas law is...It is a crime to leave a gun in a place, a loaded gun, in a place where a child, meaning someone 16 or younger can get it."

According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Nevada law bars any person from knowingly permitting a child to handle or possess a firearm, except under adult supervision.

Sutton added, "Well, I don't leave a bullet in the chamber, doesn't matter, bullets in the clip or bullets in the cylinder, even if they're not in the barrel that is a loaded gun under Texas law."

"A lot of people, you know, want the firearms to be at home for safety and for the safety of their families," said Michael Cargill, with Central Texas Gun Works. "If your child gets access to that firearm, the state of Texas, they're nice actually, they will give you seven days to go and bury your child, even if they shoot themself or kill themself, give you seven days to go and bury that child before they come and arrest you."

Sutton said, "If you have an unloaded gun and your kid loads the gun, you will not be prosecuted, period. If you have a loaded gun, you just need to take steps to not allow a child to get access to that gun."

Sutton says there are several exceptions to the loaded gun rule in Texas.

"If you're hunting or on the shooting range, you can have obviously a loaded gun with your child as long as he's being supervised," explained Sutton. "If someone breaks into your house and steals your loaded gun and shoots somebody, you will not be liable for a crime. A child can use a loaded gun to use self-defense against a person attacking them or a person stealing their property. "If you're a farmer, you're allowed to have a loaded gun."

"No one's going to educate your kids except for you, that's why you're a parent," added Cargill.

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