The Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction published a strongly worded editorial February 5 against the gun storage bill. Tracking a point I made yesterday, the Sentinel points out that existing laws already address the issue of putting children in danger.
The paper goes on to make two points that I did not make (though I’ve written about in years past). First, the penalties of the bill hardly match the inherent penalties of irresponsible gun handling: “On top of losing your child or seeing him involved in a horrible crime, you could be fined.”
Second, the law would only change the behaviors of people who are already safe:
[R]esponsible gun owners already keep their guns secured when minors are around. Equally important, they make sure their children are instructed in gun safety and understand the rules with respect to access to their weapons.
However, the irresponsible gun owners — those who care little about having loaded guns available and easily accessible even if their are children around — aren’t likely to change simply because the state creates a new misdemeanor charge and a fine for violating it.
The result of the bill would be to discourage responsible, defensive gun ownership and thereby empower criminals. It’s nice to see that the Sentinel, unlike various state legislators, has thought this one through.