Deadly shooting reminds us that guns are not toys

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 22, 2006

Wednesday, a Jackson man was shot and killed with a .45 caliber pistol. Shootings are so common in today's society, that the initial report would suggest intentional murder. However, the deceased, Lashavian Lavar Johnson, 21, was shot while horse playing with his friend, Byron La'Keith Puller, 27. The gun was accidentally discharged and bullet struck Johnson in the chest.

Puller transported his friend to the hospital and Johnson was pronounced dead. Puller, subsequently, was charged with manslaughter.

Accidental shootings, such as the one reported by the Associated Press above, remind us that guns are not playthings. They are deadly weapons designed to end a person's life. One shot can kill someone and in the aftermath alter other lives, bringing permanent and undeserved grief to both family and friends.

Even more tragic are the incidences of children dying because an adult left a firearm unattended and easily accessible. In an increasing age of reduced sensitivity to violence courtesy of movies, television and violent video games, it is even more important for all parents to teach their children respect - and even fear - for firearms.

For parents, the safest approach is to not keep a gun at home. If you do choose to have a gun inside your house, keep them locked in a closet, cabinet or desk drawer. Ensure that all firearms are unloaded and the safety is on. Keep ammunition in a separate location.

And, in the case of the shooting incident above, adults also should be reminded of the dangerous nature of firearms. A gun is not a toy and should not be handled in a thoughtless fashion.