A 4-year-old Maine boy landed his father in hot water by bringing a loaded handgun to day care. A day care employee found the gun in the boy’s bag. The safety was on, but there was a round in the chamber. The gun was removed from the day care and the authorities were alerted.
Adam Keene, 31, has been charged with a misdemeanor count of reckless endangerment. The 4-year-old boy will not face any punishment.
Keene just narrowly avoided a felony charge through a bit of dumb luck. District Attorney Maeghan Maloney reasoned that the incident was most likely accidental, so a misdemeanor charge would suffice.
That does not mean Maloney will go easy on Keene, though.
"All weapons are toys to children, so parents have to take care of them," Maloney said. "By failing to keep control of his weapon, Mr. Keene acted in a reckless manner that could have ended in tragedy, not only for his family, but for an entire daycare. That's why I decided to bring the charge.”
She added, "It's more that he misplaced his weapon and didn't know where it was."
In his defense, Keene is as disturbed by the incident as everybody else.
"He does not know how it ended up in the bag," said Philip Mohlar, Keene’s attorney. "He was very upset obviously and horrified to think of what could have happened and is grateful that nothing did."
The boy’s mother, Heidi Lynn Johnson, seems to be Keene's biggest opponent. She filed a protection from abuse order, which reads, "the gun was brought in the bag to day care on at least three occasions. It was available to my son for six days as he had access to the day care bag."
Johnson also accuses Keene of threatening the family dog with a gun.
This stands as a cautionary tale for gun owners. Regardless of your stance on gun control, everybody can agree that giving 4-year-olds access to a loaded firearm is asking for trouble. At the least, parents could face lengthy court battles. At worst, the carelessness could prove fatal.
Source: KJ Online