It is sweeps month in the local TV news business, so one station decided to drum-up viewers by setting up a test that put children in the same room with guns. The results were mixed.
KTVX-TV in Salt Lake City reports that it hid two unloaded, disabled Glocks in a room, then invited four boys and two girls, ages four-to-ten, to wait in their room while their parents attended a meeting. The parents knew what was going on; the kids of course had no idea.
Hidden cameras captured the action (curiously, the video was not posted to the station's website along with the story).
After about eight minutes four-year-old Sophie found the first gun in a drawer. She put it down on a table. When no one noticed, she picked it up and waved it around. Still, everybody ignored the little girl so she brought it to Lucy, 10, the only other girl and the oldest child in the room.
"Where did you find this?" Lucy asked.
"Over there," said Sophie, pointing to the table.
Lucy examined the gun, appearing to point it towards her face. She then put it back in the drawer.
"I was a good girl," Sophie declared.
"Yeah. Just don't tell anyone, okay? Don't tell anybody you found it, okay?" said Lucy.
About five minutes later one of the boys found the second gun behind a couch pillow. At that point Sophie defied Lucy and went to the drawer and pulled out the first gun. "Oh my, there's two," she exclaimed.
Sophie then put then gun on the couch next to the first one. The boy quickly covered up his gun while Lucy grabbed the second gun and put it back in the drawer. No child touched either gun again.
Parents, gun experts and child experts watched the video.
"I saw a great maturity from a 10-year-old girl," said firearms expert and instructor Clark Aposhian, who supplied the guns for the test.
Lucy's mother was troubled by one aspect, though.
"I am interested as to why she didn't go get an adult ...That she would just hide it, but I'm glad she got it away from the little kids," she said.
Dr. Doug Goldsmith of The Children's Center in Salt Lake City was not a big supporter of Lucy's actions. "She just pointed it at her face instead of saying, "Oh, no. This is dangerous. I'm the oldest, we need help here."
Goldsmith said children cannot be trusted to know what to do if they find a gun. "The research says that even when we teach the kids, they're likely to do exactly what we just saw."
It is unclear from the story if the children were told anything like, "We'll be right outside if you need anything or if there are any problems." If they were not, that could explain why they did not seek help from an adult. Perhaps they thought they were all alone in this little adventure.