SPOKANE, Wash. - A seven-year-old Hayden, Idaho boy is in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the head, and there was a $5 fix available that could have protected him.
The Kootenai County Sheriff's Department said the boy was with another child playing with a gun when it went off.
Neighbors said Sunday that the family was getting ready to move and so the gun was likely being packed away but, regardless, the staff at Sharp Shooting in Spokane said the gun shouldn't have been in an area where the kids could get it. If there was any problem with keeping the gun safe Jeremy Ball at Sharp Shooting said there are little to no cost ways to keep them locked up.
"It's definitely a sad case and it's something that could have easily been prevented," Ball said.
When Ball heard that a boy had been shot in the head from playing with a gun with another child he wondered why the gun was accessible in the first place.
"You can't leave it lying around. You need to do something to keep that gun secure and preferably out of sight as well," he said.
For example, you can get a gun lock, which is free to anyone who requests one, at a location that participates in the project Child Safe. The Spokane County Sheriff's Office, Coeur d'Alene Police Department and Post Falls Police Department are some of the few agencies where you can get these locks for free.
"This goes right through the gun, literally making it impossible for the firearm to work," Ball said about the gun lock.
You can also get a safe for your gun, such as one disguised as a dictionary for as low as $16, or a more expensive option like a safe that uses a finger code to access the gun inside, that runs about $100.
If you have guns in your home, it's an investment that could help save someone's life.
"Storing guns is the responsibility of the gun owner to make sure that firearm does not fall into anyone's hands that shouldn't have access to the gun," Ball said.
The Kootenai County Sheriff's Department said they're investigating the incident; once the investigation is complete they'll forward their findings to the prosecutor's office for review. Following that review the prosecutor will determine if any charges should be filed.