By Dean Weingarten
Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- On Tuesday afternoon, 20 June, 2017, in Clinton Township, Michigan, part of metropolitan Detroit, a number of children were playing outside. Adults were nearby.
Different accounts have been given. Some say that a three year old found a pistol. Others say the pistol was being passed around among the children until an older girl handed it to the three year old.
There is general agreement that he shot himself. I have not seen any account by an adult who says they saw him do it. From foxnews.com:
“They thought it was a toy gun. The kids thought it was a toy gun and was passing it around. My daughter says as soon as she handed it to him, he pulled the trigger and shot himself,” Johnson said.
“They thought the gun was a toy gun but in reality the gun was a real gun and it was loaded,” said Police Chief Fred Posavetz. “The little boy actually had shot himself in the side.”
The child was shot in the chest. Some mystery is attached to the event, because the pistol involved in the shooting disappeared, and police have not found it. From theoaklandpress.com:
The three-year-old, identified as Cameron Dillard, picked up the gun, which discharged, causing a fatal wound. Clinton Township police said the boy shot himself in the chest.
Without knowing what the make and model of the gun, it is difficult to determine how the 3-year-old shot themselves in the chest. It can be done; three year olds can be quite strong.
Most accidental shootings of young children are done by adults or older children, according to John Lott. From an archived article:
Data I have collected show that accidental shooters over-whelmingly are adults with long histories of arrests for violent crimes, alcoholism, suspended or revoked drivers licenses, and involvement in car crashes. Meanwhile, the annual number of accidental gun deaths involving children under ten — most of these being cases where someone older shoots the child — is consistently a single digit number. It is a kind of media archetype story, to report on “naturally curious” children shooting themselves or other children — though from 1995 to 1999 the entire United States saw only between five and nine cases a year where a child under ten either accidentally shot themselves or another child.
In this case, the owner of the gun was a prohibited possessor. From fox2detroit.com:
The owner of the gun that a 3-year-old Clinton Township boy fatally shot himself with has been identified as a 29 year old on parole for a weapons charge.
A Mount Clemens man was taken into custody Tuesday evening after the FBI Macomb County Violent Crimes Task Force tracked him down on the west side of Detroit.
The man had allegedly dropped the gun from his pocket.
This shooting was a tragedy, but restrictions on gun ownership or use would not have prevented this accident. The gun was owned illegally. The owner is said to have unintentionally dropped it out of his pocket. No storage laws would have changed the outcome.
When innocent children are hurt or killed, the instinct is to do something.
In this case, the police have done something. They investigated, found the man most likely to be responsible, and have charged him. It is alleged that he was told a child had picked up the pistol, but did nothing about it. From wxyz.com:
Prosecutors say 29-year-old Lamonte Odell Johnson was showing off a handgun and ignored a warning that a child picked it up on Tuesday at the Newport Arms Apartments.
Cameron Dillard, 3, picked up the gun, shot himself in the stomach and died.
Johnson is now charged with Second Degree Murder and a Felon in Possession of a Firearm and facing up to life in prison.
Passing laws to make law abiding people lock up their firearms does nothing to prevent people who habitually violate the laws from breaking the law.
©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.