Our View: Tragedies with guns can be avoided

In Fresno, a 6-year-old girl is dead, accidentally shot to death last weekend by her 2-year-old stepbrother who was somehow able to get his hands on a loaded semiautomatic handgun.

This is the kind of tragedy that should remind us all: If you have a gun in your home, go get it right now and make sure it is out of the reach of children and has a gun lock on it.

There are no excuses if your gun is taken by a young child and a tragic death occurs because you didn't secure the weapon in a safe place.

The Fresno community is dealing with this latest tragedy, but this kind of incident occurs too often in too many places. This isn't about the controversial issue of government limiting who can have guns. It isn't about the threat that comes from an intruder. Instead, it's about adults making sure that guns cannot be reached by any child. It's about negligence.

California law requires that weapons be kept out of the hands of children, and that adults who allow children access to guns can face felony charges. The Fresno County District Attorney's Office will determine whether to file charges in that case.

Some argue that these aren't accidents, and that gun owners who don't secure their weapons are making a deliberate choice to live in a dangerous household, and make it a dangerous place for their children. A strict reading of the law would back up that assertion.

Consider how much better it would be for you to lock and store that weapon right now instead of possibly preparing to bury a child and face felony charges. Don't ignore this reminder to do the right thing.

Editorials are the opinion of the Merced Sun-Star editorial board. Members of the editorial board include Publisher Eric Johnston, Executive Editor Mike Tharp, Online Editor Brandon Bowers and visiting editor Reed Boyer.