No state law violated in accidental shooting of Gaston girl - FOX Carolina 21

No state law violated in accidental shooting of Gaston girl

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(Source: Lynch Family) (Source: Lynch Family)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

The family of Juliet Lynch wants justice after the 7 year old was unintentionally shot and killed by another child.

Under state law, if you've got a firearm, you've got to put it somewhere secure, like in the trunk which is exactly where the single shot rifle which unintentionally killed a 7-year-old Gaston girl over the weekend was placed.

It was loaded, but there's no law against that.

The law makes it clear: a firearm can be stowed in the glove box, center console, or trunk- exactly where the single shot, long gun was stored when a five year old boy in Gaston set the gun off- the bullet piercing the walls of the car- and fragments hit Lynch.

The Lexington County Sheriff's Office said the owner of the gun was allowed to own it and wasn't breaking any state laws, even though a round was chambered.

"Once you decide to own a gun, you have to take responsibility for it," said Joanne Hafter.

Hafter, an outspoken proponent of Lizzie's Law says the reason no laws were broken is simply because there are no adequate laws in place when it comes to gun storage.

Part of Lizzie's Law, named after her daughter, puts more teeth into how you can legally store a gun.

"Having a gun lock, and or putting it totally out of the reach of children, and children can find their way into anything," Hafter said.

But the President of Gun Owners of South Carolina, Gerald Stoudemire said stricter legislation isn't necessarily the answer.

Stoudemire said the discharge was caused by a chain reaction of events legislators can't for see, like a child's toy being in the trunk along with the loaded gun.

"Safety rules were violated and you can't legislate safety rules," said Stoudemire.

The solution he says is better gun safety education.

"The first method of storage and transport is unload it," Stoudemire said.

But in North Carolina, where gun laws are similar to the Palmetto State, there is one big difference: if a gun owner stores a gun in any way that it can still be fired by a child, it's an automatic misdemeanor.

"If it accomplishes something, that's fine," said Stoudemire. "Just creating a misdemeanor to punish someone doesn't accomplish anything."

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