The parents of a six-year-old boy face neglect charges after the boy accidentally shot his five-year-old sister in the parents’ Indiana home. The charges stem from allegations that the parents did not safely store a loaded firearm.
If the parents receive a conviction they could face up to 40 years in prison.
Indiana neglect laws
Neglect of a dependent that results in death is a Level 1 felony in Indiana. In this case, the neglect charge stems from the parents’ admission that they left a loaded handgun in a gun safe that had the key still in the keyhole. The child removed the gun from the safe while his mother was napping and accidentally fatally shot his sister in the head while playing with it. The parents also said that the boy had opened the safe before resulting in the parents moving the safe to a new location.
The parents face three other counts of neglect due to the living conditions in the home which included trash, food, animal feces and furniture strewn throughout the house.
Indiana gun laws
Indiana law prohibits persons from knowingly or recklessly providing firearms to children. For parents, the law only applies if the parents know there is a substantial risk that the child will use the firearm to commit a crime.
Indiana does not have a gun storage law. The police chief involved in this case stated that gun owners with children in their homes should store firearms in a securely locked safe.
Accidental shootings of children are relatively rare in Indiana but can have deadly results. Gun owners can avoid most accidents by securing firearms in a locked safe and storing ammunition separately.