Kentucky Legislator Files Bill Criminalizing ‘Unlawful Storage of a Firearm’

The bill would penalize gun owners for not storing their firearms safely. (Photo: Levi Sim)

A Democratic legislator in Kentucky has pre-filed a bill that would criminalize the “unlawful storage of a firearm” if that firearm is accessed by a minor.

Rep. George Brown, Jr., who is sponsoring several pieces of anti-gun legislation this year, would have anyone whose firearm is improperly stored and accessed by a minor charged with a Class B Misdemeanor. If “physical injury or death results” from a minor accessing that firearm, the gun owner would be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor.

“We can err on the side of abundant caution and just to make sure people keep their guns secure,” Rep. Brown said. “That’s it. That’s really all it’s calling about.”

The bill is titled the “Baby Dre Gun Safety Act” after Andre O’Neal, an 8-year-old boy in Louisville who was killed by a stray bullet in January 2016. The boy was shot while being cared for by a babysitter after a man accidentally dropped a handgun.

SEE ALSO: Support for Stricter Gun Laws at Lowest Point Since 2016, New Poll Finds

The man was convicted of reckless homicide, but Luther Brown, O’Neal’s grandfather believes more accountability is needed. He claims that charges are often not brought in the accidental shooting deaths of children, especially when one child shoots another.  

“Now we want to change that because adults need to be held accountable,” Brown said.

Ironically, Rep. Brown’s bill would not apply in the tragic case of O’Neal. The bill criminalizes gun owners who “recklessly store or leave a firearm” in a manner which would allow a minor to have unsupervised access to it. Acceptable manners of storage include a securely locked container, a device which renders the firearm temporarily inoperable, or carrying the firearm on a person’s body.

SEE ALSO: Study Proves Gun Laws Reduce Homicides and Suicides? Not So Fast, Says Dr. Lott

In O’Neal’s case, the man was carrying the firearm when he dropped it. It’s also not clear whether he owned the firearm in question, and he wasn’t a minor. Rep. Brown’s bill only applies if a minor gains access to the firearm.

But Rep. Brown is still hoping that attaching O’Neal’s name to the bill will spur his fellow lawmakers to support it. Similar bills have died in the Republican-controlled legislature.

“I would hope it does or it will,” Rep. Brown said. “And I think that Baby Dre’s name could be replaced by any baby or any child.”

Preventable or accidental gun-related deaths have never been lower in the United States, thanks in large part to safe gun storage efforts of organizations like the National Shooting Sports Foundation. According to the National Safety Council, accidental/preventable gun-related deaths have dropped 44 percent between 1999 and 2018.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Frank November 22, 2020, 10:03 am

    Look out, Mitch. There be communists in your backyard.

  • Kane November 20, 2020, 11:45 pm

    Maybe Kentucky’s George Brown should give pointers to the folks in Philadelphia that lost over 200 firearms and leave it at that.

  • Tom S Orlando November 20, 2020, 10:42 am

    What gun was it, that when dropped, goes off? In the 40 years that I have been handling firearms, I have dropped many, none of them have gone off. Sounds like BS to me.

    • Bobo November 21, 2020, 9:12 am

      If you’ve dropped Many (loaded) firearms, maybe You should stop handling firearms……

  • perlcat November 20, 2020, 9:18 am

    So basically, another Democrat law that does not address the crime tjey named the bill after. Just like after a crime committed using an illegally obtained pistol hits the news, they float a whole series of laws to ban legally obtained rifles.

  • MARK November 20, 2020, 9:03 am

    WOW, I grew up around guns, Started shooting when I was 4, I/we had loaded guns in the house all the time they weren’t locked away and unseen I had friends over all the time, My friends had loaded guns in their houses, Guess how many of us were shot, ZERO, guess how many of took those guess out and shot someone ZERO, we went hunting with Loaded Guns ALONE without Parental Supervision all the time, guess how many shooting accidents we had, ZERO. People teach your children about guns and you won’t have any issues.

  • Alvis Jenkins November 20, 2020, 8:21 am

    Note this, when a gun is manufactured, the licensed manufacturer is required by the government to report to the government a registration number imbedded on a firearm. This is how manufacturers give up a right for a privilege under government control and to know who owns the registered firearm.
    Makes me wonder if any Americans are manufacturing firearms without registering same because they never register as a business, a legal term.

  • Dr Motown November 20, 2020, 7:50 am

    How did I know the word “Democrat” would appear in the first sentence?🤔

  • muleskonner November 20, 2020, 7:49 am

    This is what politicians call “floating a balloon” Where they introduce what appears on the surface to be a straight forward “common sense” law that will only affect a very small number of violators…BUT it’s still gun control…the next bill they introduce will be a little more infringing and so on and so forth until they introduce a bill to make AR15s and AK47 illegal to possess and if you have one you must turn it in…

    NO 2A infringement should ever be allowed…

  • Ab Road November 20, 2020, 6:04 am

    Rep. George Brown, Jr. (D) has been getting pointers from his gun-grabbing friends, the Liberal Party of Canada & their minion/associates, the RCMP. The Great White North, home to good beer, hockey & some of the best fishing on the planet has created over time, a National Firearms Licensing program (Firearms Possession & Acquisition Licence – PAL) with an absolute blizzard of ‘paper’ infractions, like ‘unsafe storage’.
    Some, well OK, ALL of them are blatantly written to provide multiple charge opportunities related to an incident. Here’s a few:
    even with your federally issued licence, you need a federally issued document for each firearm (certificate or cert) which must accompany the firearm when it leaves its normal place of storage, even though you, a licensed person, who owns the legally purchased firearm has it in your control in an approved case, w/ an approved trigger lock. You also require a Long Term Authorisation to Transport (LTATT). The LTATT looks surprisingly like the Short Term Authorisation to Transport (STATT) which you require to move your new firearm, ONE TIME, from place of purchase to place of storage, normally your residence.

    Let’s say you’re taking a couple of firearms to an authorised range or club and you forgot your wallet at home and, you’re using a new gun case. It doesn’t have copies of the LTATT or certs in it and you get stopped for a burned out tail light.

    Let me count your tickets for you:
    1. Driving w/o your operators license – local traffic law
    2. Being in possession of firearms w/o your PAL being present Federal Criminal Code (FCC)
    3. Being in possession of firearms w/o a valid LTATT Document present FCC
    4. Being in possession of firearms w/o certs present (2 firearms, 2 counts) FCC

    Oh look! In your excitement, you forgot to apply trigger locks or secure the gun case; at least 2 more charges, FCC again, of unsafe transportation. Oh, the unlocked firearms, in the unlocked case were in plain view in the back seat? Confiscated, Unsafe Storage x 2 AND you’ll have to go to court to recover your property, pay fines &/or be sentenced, ALL over some scraps of paper.

    So, rather than addressing root cause issues, Rep Brown wants to protect you by penalising you, just like his Liberal buddies up North. (Canadian friends often refer to them as Lieberals)

    ANYTHING, which attacks 2A is an attack on the Constitution of the United States. The US is the only country on the Planet I’m aware of where Firearms Ownership in Enshrined in Law; Lose that, lose your country.

    Want to make a Canadian shooter twitch & flinch? Two words — Alan Rock

    An armed man is a citizen; an unarmed one is a serf.

    Here endith the lesson.
    — Sean Connery as Jim Malone, The Untouchables (1987)

  • Paul November 18, 2020, 7:00 pm

    So why aren’t parents responsible for their kids when they commit crimes? The law needs to be consistant across the board.

    • Bobo November 21, 2020, 9:17 am

      Careful what you ask for – you just might get it….

      Also there are a number of localities where parent’s are considered responsible for crimes their (minor) children commit.

      • Paul November 21, 2020, 6:38 pm

        Okay name one city that will prosecute the parents! The only thing I see is the parents suing and getting rich of their darlings misdeeds!
        If people cant teach their kids right from wrong or maintain ordinary control of their weapons they deserve what ever the law dishes out!!!

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