MIAMI ( CBSMiami) — In recent days several shootings involved local children getting their hands on guns and hurting themselves or injuring and killing others.
These incidents have raised questions about parent or gun owner liability begging the question, can parents or other adults who own a gun be held accountable in situations like these?
Days ago, in Miami, 3-year old Darnel Mundy, was looking for an iPad, when he found his father’s gun in a drawer and shot himself in the head.
A little over a week ago, two 14-year-old boys and a 16-year-old boy were playing with a gun in the garage of a home in Cooper City when it went off, killing 14-year old Charlie Martin.
Legally speaking CBS4’s Irika Sargent, a licensed attorney in New York, says a gun owner can face charges under Florida law in certain situations.
Florida statutes say if a person stores or leaves a loaded firearm within the reach or easy access of a child under 16-years old and that minor uses the firearm to injure or kill himself or another person,that person could face felony charges with prison time of up to 5 years.
If a minor gets the firearm, shows it in a public place or in a rude, careless threatening manner, the adult gun owner can face misdemeanor charges, resulting in up to 60 days in jail and/or fines of up to $500.
There are some exceptions to these laws. The gun owner may not be found liable if he or she: keeps the firearm in a securely locked box, in a location a reasonable person would believe is secure or secures the firearm with a trigger lock.
Another exception is if the minor gets the gun through unlawful entry on someone’s property.
Now, one recent case is a bit different. Last weekend, a 12-year-old Davie girl was rushed to the hospital with a gunshot wound to her arm. Her father said he was teaching her gun safety at the time.
Sargent spoke with Former Assistant State Attorney David Weinstein and he agrees this case doesn’t fall squarely under these laws but investigators will look into whether the father was acting negligently. Recklessly, in handling the gun around his child or whether this was just an unfortunate accident.