It’s a lazy summer afternoon and your teenage daughter is visiting her best friend’s house. Unknown to you, the father of your daughter’s best friend keeps a loaded gun in a drawer in the kitchen because of previous break in. They find the loaded gun in the house and your daughter accidentally shoots her friend. In an instant, a fun summer vacation becomes a tragedy with potentially life changing consequences. Instead of preparing for the upcoming school year, your juvenile daughter is facing manslaughter charges, which can lead to being tried as an adult and spending a significant amount of time in an adult prison.
As a former Virginia Beach police officer, I have seen the lives of too many families turned upside down when accidents happen and things go horribly wrong. The criminal justice system can be very unforgiving. Unfortunately, we can’t supervise our teens all day, every day, and they will encounter dangerous situations. No one wants to hear about an accidental shooting, and certainly no one wants this to happen to their son or daughter.
As a parent and an attorney, I encourage every parent to talk with their children about the devastating consequences of playing with handguns. What first appears to be harmless curiosity can turn ugly quickly.
If you’re not sure what to tell your child about gun safety, keep it simple – tell them if they see a gun to leave the area immediately, even if it means leaving a friend, and call you!