Tips to avoid gun-related criminal charges

Guns, kids, and gun-related criminal charges due to an accident — it’s a touchy topic.  Let’s talk {gently}.

Since Missouri is a state of open and concealed carry freedoms, gun-related accidents and the possibility of gun-related criminal charges need to be discussed.  According to, about 2,000 accidental shootings occur in the U.S. each year.

USA Today states that deaths of children under the age of 12 due gun accidents occur about once a week — approximately 52 deaths a year in this category.  Considering that about a third of U.S. households with children own guns, this figure is pretty small.

However, a gun-related accident involving a child is no small matter ever, especially if you know and love that child.

Losing a child is heart-rending under any circumstance. What’s worse — a load of guilt due to a gun-related accident!

Truth. We cannot possibly prevent every accident. Where our kids are involved, though, it’s up to us to do our very best.  Which is why parents or a child’s caretaker will sometimes face gun-related criminal charges after an unfortunate gun accident.

Imagine losing your child to a gun-related accident and then facing criminal charges!

Sometimes you just can’t make this stuff up! What a terrible circumstance — accidentally leaving a loaded gun (unlocked) where a young child can get a hold of it. One news story from NC told of a mother in jail because her 12 year old accidentally shot his 9 year old brother with a loaded shotgun in the back while goofing off.  The remaining child has now lost both his brother and his parent to one terrible accident.

Another similar incident happened right here in St. Louis last year. Two young brothers aged 12 and under were left home alone while both parents worked. The tragic mistake, again, was that a loaded gun was left where the boys could access it. Both parents were faced with criminal charges per this St. Louis news source.

Families who hunt are often well-educated about gun safety due to hunter safety courses. They “own” their gun ownership.

The rest of us?  Here are a few gun safety reminders for those of us who love children and want to keep them safe.

For really young children, the NRA offers a few engaging videos that teach children how they should react if they come across a gun.

  • First and foremost, talk to your children about gun safety even if you don’t own a gun. Why? Your friends or family might be gun owners. All it takes for an accident to occur is one forgetful moment.
  • Next, always have the safety set to “ON” with a loaded gun.
  • Always keep the gun out of the reach of children. 
  • Lock up the gun, especially if it’s loaded.
  • Best safety practice — store the gun unloaded and locked with the ammo in a separate, safe location.

Will a parent be charged with a felony if their child accidentally shoots someone with their gun?

That’s a “loaded” question, but the answer will depend on a number of circumstances.  Sometimes yes — sometimes no. If you find yourself in this terrible situation, you definitely need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney familiar with Missouri laws.  Call Attorney Nathan A. Steimel today for a free initial evaluation of your case. 636-244-3737.

This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.