Recent headlines, in Maine and elsewhere: “Two men wounded when handgun accidentally fires in Brunswick,” “Police identify son killed by father in accidental shooting,” and “6-year-old boy accidentally shoots, kills father.”

These stories are just from the past week. Why do we continue to refer to these shootings as “accidental”? Why don’t the media label these as what they really are: “irresponsible” shootings?

There is nothing accidental about leaving a loaded gun in an unsecured location, and surely any resulting discharge of that weapon, particularly resulting in injury or death, should without exception be prosecuted as a criminal offense.

Swap “irresponsibly” for “accidentally” in these headlines, and recast the last one as “Father’s irresponsible approach to gun ownership leads to being fatally shot by his 6-year-old son.”

John Branning


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