A 4-year-old boy fired a gun just once on Saturday evening during a family cookout. That was enough to instantly kill 48-year-old Josephine Fanning in her own home in Lebanon, Tennessee, where she was pronounced dead.
Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan acknowledged that the victim was the wife of one of his deputies, but he said that deputy Daniel Fanning was well-trained with weapons and did nothing wrong. He called it an accident that happened to a well-trained officer who is knowledgeable about weapons. According to Bryan, Fanning normally keeps the weapons in a locked gun safe.
However, he had opened the safe in a bedroom to show the weapons to a visitor. As they were talking, apparently Fanning’s 4-year-old nephew seized the gun without being seen.
“Split second, we’re talking about seconds for that kid to walk in that room unbeknownst to them, grab that gun and it goes off,” the sheriff told Tennessee’s NewsChannel5.
To another Tennessee station WSMV TV, he said, “Nobody is immune to this – nobody. It doesn’t matter if you are a law enforcement officer. These things can happen in seconds.”
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is looking into it. Although no one is saying what gun the 4-year-old picked up, the sheriff did say that it wasn’t the deputy’s service weapon.
In Connecticut today, President Obama met with several family members of the victims of the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December. As part of his push for gun reform, he is flying 11 of those family members back with him on Air Force One to confront the members of Congress who oppose the new legislation.
Whether or not you like the president’s plan, maybe we can all agree that if you’ve got loaded weapons out to show the boys, maybe lock the door so that a 4-year-old doesn’t walk away with one of the guns.
[gun photo courtesy Jpogi via Wikipedia Commons]