Articles Posted in Gun & Firearm Safety and Injuries

mle_1935a-022614-calGun ownership is protected by the Second Amendment.  Certainly, there is a strong history and constitutional right to gun ownership in Florida and the United States.  With this right, there are also the responsibility of sensible and reasonable ownership and safety especially when children are present in a home or a location where guns are owned, maintained, and stored.   A homeowner / gun owner can be held liable for leaving a gun in a place or location that is accessible to a young child.   It is well known that children especially toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary school children are curious and do not always recognize the danger of touching or handling a gun.  Civil or legal responsibility for injuries or the death of a young child does not in any way abrogate or curtail gun ownership or rights.  Like driving an automobile or running an amusement park right, there must be responsible maintenance and operation surrounding the potentially dangerous activity.

An Arkansas woman was recently charged after her six year old nephew shot and killed himself with a gun she owned. The young boy was waiting in a car while the woman was in a nearby residence. The accidental death lead to the woman being charged with manslaughter. She was charged criminally because she was  alleged to be negligent or careless for keeping the gun in a place accessible to the young boy. With such a tragic event, this particular incident and others are wake up calls for all gun owners and homeowners to be responsible any time that guns and children are present in the same location.

Gun related injuries can happen to a child of any age. In fact, toddlers, aged two or three, are strong enough to pull the trigger of a loaded gun. Often, these toddlers are too young to understand what a gun is and the danger that it poses. Coupled with the fact that one in three children live in a home with a gun, this is all the more reason to practice proper gun safety.

gun%20handgun%20with%20two%20bullets.jpgIn Florida and other States, children are the unfortunate victims of accidental shootings. When a person owns or has possession or control of a firearm, it is important for the person to be a responsible adult and safeguard the gun against use or access by children. Furthermore, when cleaning, handling, or shooting a gun, it should be done with all safety precautions. People have the right to own and maintain possession of the firearms / guns for their protection and for recreation through hunting and target shooting. However, with gun ownership comes great responsibility.

When a child is an unfortunate victim of an accidental shooting, there may be legal case or insurance claim pursued on behalf of the injured child. When there is an accidental shooting of a child, some cases are criminally prosecuted through the State Attorney and local sheriff’s office or police department.

The criminal case is different than a civil case brought on behalf of the injured child by the parents or guardians. Pursuing a civil case for the victim of an accidental shooting can be quite complex. Because of this, it is important for the family of the injured child to retain the services of a Florida Child Injury Lawyer for consultation, advice, and legal representation.


In Florida and other States, children are the unfortunate victims of accidental shootings.
In Jacksonville, Florida, an accidental shooting of a three year old led to criminal charges in Jacksonville Florida. The three year old was the unfortunate victim of an accidental shooting at home. According to a report by by the Jacksonville Times Union newspaper, the three year old was shot by herself in a home. The gun reportedly was left under a mattress in the home and got into the child’s hands. Criminal charges stem in part from the fact that the gun was not secured and there was a lack of supervision involving the child. See Two Adults Charged in Accidental Shooting of Florida Child.

When children are present in a home, it is vital that all weapons are secured and kept out of the reach of the child. Otherwise, accidental shootings can result which in turn lead to serious personal injuries and even the wrongful death of a child. The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know has chapters on Damages/Compensation, Homeowners Insurance, Medical Bills and Medical Treatment, and other topics. Get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury. When a child is a victim of an accident shooting, there may be a legal claim pursued on behalf of the child against the owner of the gun, the owner of the home, and/or the owner of the business where the accidental shooting took place. Safety is a priority anytime weapons are present in the home or business including schools, day care centers, shopping centers, and other locations were a child may visit. If your child has been the victim of an accident on a shooting, contact a Florida Child Injury Lawyer for advice, consultation, and possible representation for a claim related to the damages resulting from the accidental shooting.


A Tampa Bay boy (Diego Duran) suffered a serious injury when he became of the victim of an accidental shooting in Ruskin, Florida. While it does not appear that the incident was intentional or expected, the celebratory firing of a gun appears to be the cause of a bullet hitting Diego in the head and putting him into a coma. The boy was only 12 years old at the time of the accidental shooting. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office reported that the boy’s family was outside of their home bringing in the New Year and watching fireworks when the incident took place. When Diego’s mother saw him fall and was bleeding, she took quick action and had him transported to the hospital. It was reported that no one nearby had been firing off a gun. It is possible that the gun had been fired from miles away.

Similar incidents have been reported through the years. Tragically, lives are lost and serious personal injuries are suffered when a gun is randomly fired in the air. Gun safety should be practiced at all times even in areas where it does not appear anybody is near by. A fired bullet can travel a great distance and can and does take the lives of incident victims. See Boy Shot in Head in Celebratory Shooting – New Year – Florida.

church%20steeple%20baptist%20church.jpgIn Florida, children are, at times, victims of accidental shootings. Some of these unfortunate incidents result in the untimely death of the child. The Tampa Tribune and the Orlando Sentinel reported that Kaylen Torres – age 2 – was shot in the accident from a bullet from a gun that accidentally discharged in her home. The gun was mistakenly fired by a relative in another room. The bullet went through the wall and struck Kaylen in the had. She was transported to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando Florida where she died with her parents at her side.

It is often times the worst time in the life of a parent to bury or say goodbye to a child. It is at these times that the parents need the support of their families, neighborhood, church, and community to help them through the grieving process. No legal action – whether civil or criminal – can bring the child back to life; nevertheless, legal cases often times result from accidental shootings that involve legal representation from a Florida criminal defense attorney, State Attorney, Public Defender, and, when appropriate, a Florida Personal Injury Attorney. See also The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know.

The accidental shooting death of a child is a life event that no parent can or should ever be prepared for. Many of these incidents, while unforeseeable, are most preventable with the practice and exercise of gun safety and proper storage of guns in the home. Florida and the United States allows individuals and homeowners to own guns. With these legal rights come the responsibility to act sensibly and in the best interest of all those who may be near a gun including children.


In Tallahassee, Florida, lawmakers and some physicians have been debating the Florida law regarding the relationship between gun ownership and medical care. At the heart of this debate is House Bill 155, which would make it a criminal offense for a physician to inquire into the patient’s ownership of a firearm. This is the first law of its kind in the nation and it has some physicians worried that the law will create a slippery slope and hinder the physicians ability to get a full and complete history from the patient without undue regulation by the State of Florida. In response, supporters of the law argue that this sort of information is constitutionally protected and that doctors have no right to inquire about it.

While most physicians might differ in their opinion on what questions are appropriate to ask a patient, many physicians are concerned about criminalizing questions that a physician may ask as part of the medical history of the patient and the current and future safety of others especially children. It is important in any fiduciary relationship, whether it be medicine or law, that the client or patient has trust in whoever is taking care of them and vice versa. By enacting laws like Florida House Bill 155, some physicians believe that this relationship will be seriously hindered. Most feel it should be left to the doctors to determine whether or not a particular question is appropriate. Some even claim that it is a violation of their 1st amendment rights to make certain lines of questioning illegal.

Along with House Bill 155, the Florida Congress passed two more laws granting more rights to gun owners across the state. To read more on this story, see Guns bills approved.


A 5-year-old boy of Palatka, Florida, brought a loaded semiautomatic to his elementary school. The boy’s actions prompted a police investigation as to where the gun came from. Local police were called to Moseley Elementary School after a school teacher saw the firearm fall from the young boy’s pocket. The teacher confiscated the weapon and notified school administrators, who then contacted police. The firearm was identified as a .22-caliber Jimenez semiautomatic handgun, the firearm has live ammunition in the magazine but no round in the chamber. After being questioned, the boy informed police officers he found the gun in a vehicle belonging to his stepfather. Although this particular has yet to be confirmed by police, Assistant Palatka Police Chief James Griffith promised there will be criminal charges if any adult is found to be negligent in the case. In the meantime, the 5-year-old boy has been suspended indefinitely until further review by school authorities. This incident occurred not too long after the tragic accidental shooting of 6-year-old girl in Jacksonville, Florida. In that case, the young girl, Donesha Burney, found her father’s .380-caliber handgun on a kitchen counter; Donesha’s father left the gun on the counter after he cleaned the weapon. Donesha shot herself in the chest with the firearm. Her father, 32-year-old Donnell Bernard Burney could face up to 5 years in prison. To read more on that story please see Accidental Shooting Victim Recovering from Gunshot Wounds to Chest.

Florida has its own statute covering firearms and possession by minors. To read a summary of this statute please see Florida Law Regarding Minors (Under the Age of 18) and Firearms.

Luckily, neither this child or his peers were injured. Parents, guardians and other adults have a responsibility to keep firearms and other dangerous weapons out of a minor’s reach, especially minors who are young children. Negligent adults could face criminal and civil charges if they fail to do so. To read more on this story please see >5-year-old suspended after bringing semiautomatic gun to elementary school.


A 6-year-old girl who accidentally shot herself in the chest is expected to recover from the accidental gunshot injuries. According to police, the girl’s father Donnell Burney, addmitted he left a gun unattended in the house. The child saw the unattended gun, was obviously curious and started playing the firearm. The girl’s family transported her to Shands Jacksonville Medical Center where she was reported to be in critical condition. Although Burney has not been charged, police did say he could be charged with culpable negligence. To read more on this story please see 6-year-old expected to recover after she was accidentally shot in chest.

Children do not understand the dangerousness of a firearm. In fact, guns are seen as toys or play thing in the hands of a child opposed to a deadly weapon. Regardless of what the child does with a gun, tragic accidents can occur if a child handles a firearm without adequate adult supervision. Although Floridians do have a right to own firearms and store them within the home, Florida parents should lock their guns away eliminating a child’s access. Parents should disable the gun, store the weapon in a lockbox, and store the bullets separately from the gun.


Police have arrested a 17-year-old male of Ocala, Florida, for his alleged involvement in the fatal shooting of another male at a local bowling alley. Marqalle Jordan Woolbright was arrested and charged with homicide by detectives. An officer spotted a large crowd gathering outside of AMF Galaxy Bowling Lanes. The officer approached the crowd after he witnessed a fight and heard gunshots. After breaking through the crowd, it was reported that the officer discovered 19-year-old Antonio Gordon, Jr., lying on the pavement with a gunshot wound. The officer performed CPR until other rescue personnel arrived. Gordon was rushed to Munroe Regional Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. Eye witnesses told investigators that Woolbright was involved in a inside the bowling alley that was eventually taken outside. Woolbright was arrested charged with homicide and transported to the Department of Juvenile Justice after he was interviewed by investigators. AMF Galaxy Bowling Alley holds $0.99 bowling every Tuesday, which attracts a large crowd. If you would like to read more on this story please see Minor charged with homicide after fatal shooting outside Ocala, Florida, bowling alley.

The death of this young man is a tragedy for his family and community. It is likely that this 17-year-old may be tried as an adult. Therefore, he may face harsher criminal sanctions. Firearms are extremely dangerous weapons and should only be possessed by minors in minimal situations. In fact, if you would like to read more on Florida Law regarding minors and gun possession please read Frequently Asked Questions About Firearms, Safety, Possession, and Children – Information Every Parent and Gun Owner Should Know.


A Tampa teenager was shot in the head during a late-night party at a Tampa apartment complex, the Waterford Apartments on Waters Avenue. According to the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office, over 200 people were in attendance at the party that took place in the apartment complex’s clubhouse. The teenage victim was identified as 19-year-old Eric Allen of Wesley Chapel, Florida. Allen was coherent, alert and able to speak to police after he was transported to the hospital. However, Allen was unable to tell deputies who shot him. According to detectives, someone started firing shots into the ceiling while inside the clubhouse. Most party attendees fled the scene after the shots were fired. If you would like to read more on this incident please see Tampa teen shot in head at apartment complex party.

Firearms are extremely dangerous weapons when fired by a person with poor judgment, poor safety awareness, or with the intent to harm others. Firearms should only be used under proper supervision and in places designated safe for shooting (e.g., a shooting range). The person responsible for firing the weapon in this apartment complex should be charged both criminally and civilly. Civil damages should include payment for the victim’s hospital expenses and personal injuries.

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