Six-year-old Brandon Holt was fatally shot in the head Monday by a 4-year-old friend and neighbor who got hold of a rifle in his home, and the incident is calling into question a law that charges gun owners with disorderly conduct if a minor gains unsupervised access to a gun.
Leah Gunn-Barrett, executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, says firearm storage is not in the national debate alongside assault weapons and background checks.
“You always hear about criminals getting their hands on guns—you know it's kids, it's depressed teenagers, it's children—like in this case in New Jersey.”
New Jersey is one of 28 states that have some version of the child access prevention law, but enforcement is difficult unless a shooting takes place. The New Jersey disorderly conduct charge is less serious than a misdemeanor.
A 2005 study found that over one and a half million American kids live in households with guns that are loaded and not stored in a lock box. Twenty-seven other states have