Police will charge a Florida mother shot by her 4-year-old son, authorities said on March 22. The mother was shot after leaving a loaded handgun within reach of her child during a car trip.
Jamie Gilt, 31, was driving with her son on March 8 when her handgun slid in front of her son, Lane, reports The Associated Press. Lane then got out of his child booster seat, grabbed the gun, and fired, hitting his mother’s back.
Putnam County Sheriff Capt. Gator DeLoach described the mother’s account of the tragic incident.
“She felt something strike her in the back, then noticed the windshield of her truck was broken,” said DeLoach.
Jamie Gilt was hospitalized after the shooting, and is reportedly recovering. Her son was not injured.
Gilt was reportedly a gun enthusiast, and a big supporter of Second Amendment rights. She posted on social media regarding instructing her 4-year-old to fire a gun before the March 8 incident.
Children’s access to firearms and their safety is a hot button issue across the U.S. In 30 states, it remains legal for a child of any age to own a rifle, reports The Washington Post.
While a child cannot legally walk into a gun store and buy a weapon, kids can still legally possess firearms, according to Daniel Webster, director of the John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.
“If dad wants to give his son a rifle or shotgun on his 13th or 14th birthday, he’s pretty much free to do that in most states,” said Webster.
An Iowa bill that passed the state’s House the week of Feb. 26 went further, explicitly allowing children of any age to fire a handgun, reports News Max.
Opponents of the bill slammed it as a threat to children’s and families’ safety.
“The bill before us, allows for 1-year-olds, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, 4-year-olds to operate handguns. We do not need a militia of toddlers,” said Democratic Iowa Rep. Kirstin Running-Marquardt.
The bill’s supporters say more access to handguns makes families safer.
“It returns the power back to where it fully belongs. Back in the hands of parents to make those decisions they are entitled to do, instead of the government,” said Republican Iowa Rep. Jake Highfill.