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Recent shootings have some lawmakers focusing on gun storage

(Adobe Stock)

UTAH STATE CAPITOL – A Brigham City boy is making a strong recovery after he reportedly shot himself in the head by accident.  This and other recent shootings have some lawmakers saying they need to take a closer look at gun storage.

Officers are still trying to pinpoint what exactly happened before a single shot was fired and how he got the gun in the first place.

Brigham City Police Lieutenant James Crapse says, “We don’t know for sure.  He and a friend were in the bedroom playing video games [when it happened.]”

They’re not sure how close the gun was to the boy’s head, but, Crapse says the child is lucky to be alive.

For now, Crapse says they just believe this was an unfortunate accident and they don’t believe there was any kind of malicious intent.  It’s also too soon for officers to think about issuing any kinds of citiations.

Crapse says, “We’ll go ahead and keep investigating.  Once we do, then we’ll talk with our city attorney and see what he recommends.”

Attorneys tell KSL there currently aren’t any laws specifying how guns should be stored, but, in extreme cases, a gun owner could be charged with negligent child abuse if they leave dangerous items out where a child could get them.

Representative Elizabeth Weight is bringing back a bill that specifically addresses gun storage.  Her House Bill 136 would make it a criminal offense if a gun owner stores it in a location where he/she “knows or has reason to believe a minor or person legally restricted” could take and use the weapon.  She believes current negligence laws don’t go far enough.

“It hasn’t been taken as a negligence issue if a loaded gun is accessible to a minor or a restricted person,” she says.

Weight says her main goal is to raise awareness about gun storage.

“Over 80 percent of the guns that come to school are guns that come from inadequate storage, or no storage at all, at kids’ houses, their friends’ houses or relatives’ houses,” she says.