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Many Americans take great pride in the constitutionally enshrined right to bear arms. Being able to own and use a firearm is not a privilege other countries necessarily enjoy. However, a firearm, as intended by design, is a weapon created to inflict maximum damage in minimal time at range. That means that any accident that occurs with a firearm has the potential to be serious or even lethal.
This, unfortunately, is where some Americans fail to realize the right to bear arms also comes with some heavy legal obligations that end up in court.
Out of the 50 states in the country, according to the Center for Disease Control, Florida ranks #3 for firearm deaths at 2724 in 2017, outranked only by California and Texas, which were both over 3000. One of the reasons for this is the accidental discharge of weapons. In theory, the safety on a weapon should prevent any accidental discharge from occurring. In reality, many gun owners dislike the use of the safety of their weapon because they feel they must be ready to respond with their firearm in a moment’s notice, and anything that takes time to make a weapon ready for use is dangerous.
As a result, many cases of firearm accidents in Florida occur as a result of gun owners making their guns as easy as possible to quickly use to allay the anxiety of not being able to access a gun quickly. This often results in many unintended accidents, such as the tragic death of two teenagers visiting another teenager’s home. A gun that should have been locked away in a gun cabinet was easily taken and shown to the visitors. One of the visitors grabbed the gun, and because the safety wasn’t engaged, it went off, hitting one 15 years old and one 14 old with a single round, killing both. The teenager that accidentally fired the gun is now facing manslaughter charges because the homeowners believed easy access to a gun was more important than gun safety.
It’s Against The Law
While owning a firearm is well within the permissions of the law, making it easy to access and use is not. Property owners have to be aware of a legal concept known as premises liability. This means that the owner has a legal obligation to make the environment reasonably safe for visitors.
A semi-automatic pistol left loaded, with the safety off, on a coffee table, where anyone can pick it up, for example, is a clear case of not exercising care to create a safe environment. There is minimal effort involved in securing a firearm, so if it does go off, and someone is injured or even killed, the premises liability of that incident falls directly on the property owner.
You Can Do Something About It
If the accidental discharge of a gun injures you or another family member due to someone else’s refusal to exercise appropriate gun safety measures, “just in case something happens and the gun needs to be fired quickly,” talk to a firearm accident attorney. You’ll get the guidance you need to hold the negligent owner legally and financially responsible.