FORT ANN, N.Y. (NEWS10) – As the investigation continues into the death of a local teen killed by a shotgun blast last week, NEWS10 is looking into the conversations surrounding gun safety in the home and around children. We spoke with firearm experts about their best practices and suggestions.
On August 16, a 14-year-old was shot and killed inside a home in Fort Ann. A 17-year-old holding a shotgun and is now charged with second-degree Manslaughter and Reckless Endangerment. While the circumstances behind the incident are still unclear, it raises the question about gun safety among teens.
Bill Parker has been a Range Specialist Officer (RSO) for nearly half a decade. He says he taught his two young boys at the ages of eight and nine the importance of what a gun is capable of.
“I didn’t want them to be curious about the gun. I didn’t want them to inadvertently find the gun and say how does this work and start messing with it,” said Parker. “Always know where your weapon is. If it’s not in use, keep it unloaded. There’s no reason to have a loaded gun if you’re using it for home defense. It has to be secured properly.”
If you want your child to learn the importance of gun safety, specialist Lee Borman at American Tactical Systems says there are programs to teach beginners.
“For the safe handling of firearms. And you know the NRA, also in the New York State DEC offers basic hunting safety classes for youths,” said Borman.
Jim Ward showed NEWS10 how to double check if a gun was loaded, or not.
“Never Set that weapon down. Unless you know that there’s nothing in the chamber itself, OK? Nothing down in the magazine,” said Ward.
While the case in Fort Ann unfolds, local attorney Eric Schillinger says there are several components to consider.
“Gun safety is really important. Keeping your guns locked up is important. If you are in a position where someone else gets ahold of your firearms, there is always a risk that you could be criminally responsible for that.”
Schillinger says second-degree Manslaughter and Reckless Endangerment could carry a sentence of up to 15 years behind bars. The 17-year-old in this case has not been charged as an adult, at this time.
No matter your stance on gun ownership is the experts that NEWS10 spoke with say it is important to talk to your kids about gun safety and to keep the guns locked up and out of reach.