Oregon: "After deputy's child is shot, county readies gun-safe policy"


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cuchulainn
January 31, 2003, 11:42 AM
from the Oregonian

http://www.oregonlive.com/metronorth/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/metro_north_news/104393212114260.xml

After deputy's child is shot, county readies gun-safe policy

01/30/03

HOLLEY GILBERT

VANCOUVER -- Gun lockboxes could become standard issue for Clark County sheriff's deputies.

The agency is leaning toward buying lockboxes for all sworn deputies and making their use mandatory for service-issued guns while they are off duty, Undersheriff Jane Johnson said Wednesday.

A final decision about what type of box or whether boxes and other locking mechanisms would be issued in tandem will be made within t three months.

Lockboxes gained priority with the Jan. 13 shooting death of Emilee Joy Randall, 10. She was killed at home by a bullet from her father's service-issued 9 mm Ruger P-89 handgun. Her brother, Matthew Frederick Randall, 13, has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree manslaughter and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

Their father, Sgt. Craig Randall, heads the sheriff's traffic and marine unit.

Before Emilee was killed, the Clark County Sheriff's Office, like many law enforcement agencies, had no policy about how deputies should store their weapons. Gun locks were available, but use was voluntary.

Since Emilee's death, the office has begun a three-month process of creating a safe-storage policy that will apply only to guns owned and issued by the sheriff's office, Johnson said. How deputies store their personal weapons will remain a personal choice.

The cost of boxes for the office's 120 deputies and additional custody officers is undetermined. But the sheriff's office budget does not have enough money to buy boxes for everyone, Johnson said. Clark County commissioners would have to approve any additional money, she said.

They are willing to help.

"The board is extremely concerned about this issue," said Commissioner Craig Pridemore, board chairman. "If this is the appropriate solution, the board is eager to assist them to rectify the situation."

Legally, the board has no authority to tell Sheriff Garry Lucas what to do, Pridemore said. "But we do have budget authority, and this is the area that if we can help, we want to," he said.

The money would come from a county reserve fund.

To pinpoint the best way to store service weapons, different types and sizes of metal safes could be put in precincts and at various spots around the sheriff's office and jail for deputies and custody officers to try, Johnson said.

Currently, people with desk jobs may lock their guns in desk drawers during the day.

Use of the boxes must be practical, efficient and effective "and still allow deputies to do the job they need to do," Johnson said.

While the type of locking device is debated, whether to have a safe-storage policy apparently will not be.

"We will come out with a policy," Johnson said.

The lockbox idea has been well-received, said Sgt. Mike Cooke of Internal Affairs.

"How do you make an argument against gun safes? I don't think you can," Cooke said. "It would be like saying you're against world peace."

The move toward issuing lockboxes is not a reflection on Craig Randall, he said.

"Everybody feels tremendous sympathy for the Randall family," Cooke said. "We also realize it's prudent and reasonable to store firearms safely."

However, "Emotions should not blind us to facts," he said. "If there's something beneficial, why not?"

In court Friday, Matthew Randall admitted that he violated his probation for a previous firearms-related conviction when he fired an unloaded shotgun just before firing the Ruger, prosecutors said. He was sentenced to 30 days' detention on the probation violation.

His trial on the manslaughter and weapons charges is set for Feb. 19.

Although the sheriff's office has not settled on a particular locking mechanism, interest is focused on a bread-box-sized safe that can store a loaded weapon and can be opened by an electronic keypad combination lock.

In a demonstration, Cooke opened the safe and retrieved his unloaded Glock in three seconds.

"That's the same time it would take to roll over, open a dresser drawer and pull it out," he said. So a lockbox would not hamper deputies who want a loaded weapon handy for middle-of-the-night emergencies.

The handgun model could run $40 to $50, but the price would rise for long-gun safes, Cooke said.

"If we're truly talking about gun safety, we need to talk about all guns because the department doesn't issue just handguns," he said. Rifles are standard issue to all deputies, and some also are given shotguns or specialized firearms.

"All of these weapons go home," Cooke said. "A deputy is taking home a piece of county-owned equipment that has the potential of causing damage." Holley Gilbert: 360-896-572; 503-294-5900; holleygilbert@news.oregonian.com

© 2003 OregonLive.com. All Rights Reserved.

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oldfart
January 31, 2003, 01:07 PM
The thread title is a bit misleading since the problem occurred across the river in Washington. The Oregonian is the largest newspaper in the area, so it covers stories in Clark County too.

Blackhawk
January 31, 2003, 05:02 PM
Guess it's too much to train the parents to train their kids. :rolleyes:

TallPine
January 31, 2003, 05:10 PM
And the kids can't figure out how to open it in three seconds or a little more ...?

Hkmp5sd
January 31, 2003, 07:35 PM
You can't legislate stupidity.

Drizzt
January 31, 2003, 07:54 PM
Guns and carelessness

Sarah Spellman
Columnist
January 30, 2003

Here we go again.
Sometimes, I sadden myself. I feel like I have become so desensitized by the parade of violence on nightly newscasts that when I hear that another child has been killed, it often goes unnoticed to me. These events turn up in the news reports so often that many times it really is easy for me to ignore it and often it leaves me unaffected.

But this time, it's different.


This time, when I heard the news that a 10-year-old girl from Vancouver had been accidentally killed by her older brother, I was left shocked and saddened. This time it stopped me dead in my tracks. This time I paid attention.

The Oregonian reported that on Jan. 13, Emilee Randall was accidentally shot in the head by her 13-year-old brother Matthew with his father's gun while their parents were out of the home. The gun was located in the master bedroom, unattended, on a high shelf .

To make matters worse, Matthew was already on probation for unlawfully possessing a firearm in 2001. He broke probation by possessing this firearm and is currently serving his full 30-year sentence.

It gets even worse. The father of Emilee and Matthew is Craig Randall, a Clark County sheriff's sergeant. The gun used in the accidental killing was his duty gun.

This story upsets me beyond belief for many reasons. Of course, it is sad that any innocent child has to die much before her time should run out. But it is even more depressing when this situation could have easily been avoided.

The problem here is guns.

As one could easily notice from recent events, children and guns just do not seem to mix, often resulting in many tragic instances. One that is near and dear to Oregon natives especially: the Thurston High School shooting of May 21, 1998. When these acts are brought home, however, it can evoke different views from people. And this case is no different.

I am personally appalled by the fact that there was a gun left unattended in the house of this sergeant. As a man of the law, I would think he should have known better than to leave his gun unattended and that this wouldn't have had to happen. Although there is currently no policy with the Clark County Sheriff's Office regarding storage of guns, Craig Randall should have taken action and responsibility to prevent Matthew from getting a hold of the weapon. Whether a safety lock was to be in place, or purely locked in storage, anything could have possibly prevented this tragedy.

Sure, the parents may have trusted their son, but with a background such as his, a "better safe than sorry" method needs to be taken. I can imagine that this family is sorry now.

Although the damage has clearly been done, I hope that as a society, we can finally learn from this. How many children have to die? How many families have to suffer with this great loss of a loved one until we finally get a clue? Guns are dangerous -- period.

It is time that, as a nation, we put away our "it won't happen to me" mentality. It has become clear that a certain level of responsibility needs to kick in. I am not arguing that the possession of guns should be criminalized -- it is our constitutional right and a privilege as American citizens. But with this privilege, responsibility must be taken to prevent children dying in the manner of Emilee Randall -- through the carelessness of gun owners.

It is easy. Let's not let these accidents happen, and let's prevent them in the first place. Be safe -- take responsibility.

http://www.dailyemerald.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2003/01/30/3e395dbd1d796

Diesle
January 31, 2003, 08:13 PM
Call me silly, but I think gun safes are a good idea. Common sense really. Whether or not it should be illegal not to have one is another question.

There are a lot of very well made safes that offer quick entry and very reasonable secuity against even the most agressive force. (kids often times being the most agressive...)

If this department chooses to make it a policy, good for them. Policy good, legislation bad.

Diesle

Diesle
January 31, 2003, 08:14 PM
The problem here is guns.



Ahhhhhh....hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah! Knob.


Diesle

TallPine
January 31, 2003, 08:48 PM
The problem here is guns

What about cars ...?

The words "children" and "cars" should never be used in the same sentence .... blah, blah, blah

Although the damage has clearly been done, I hope that as a society, we can finally learn from this. How many children have to die? How many families have to suffer with this great loss of a loved one until we finally get a clue? Cars are dangerous -- period.

rock jock
January 31, 2003, 09:09 PM
Diesel, you're not silly. Safes are an excellent idea. Common sense dictates that in a household with kids guns should be secured any time they are not under the direct supervision of a responsible adult. If this department wants to buy quick-access safes for their offcers, I think it's a great idea. I use one myself at home and can access my gun in only a few seconds more than leaving it in a bedstand. And, I have much peace of mind that my son can't get to it.

DeltaElite
January 31, 2003, 09:16 PM
I'm so sorry to hear of the loss. :(

I agree with gun safes to secure the weapons, but that is my personal opinion and practice.
I wouldn't want my arrrogance to result in the death of anyone, because I don't have my weapons secured.

Hkmp5sd
January 31, 2003, 10:44 PM
Call me silly, but I think gun safes are a good idea.

I agree completely. However, passing laws requiring gun safes is not going to change anything. In the state of Florida, it is already illegal to leave a firearm somewhere where a child gets it and harms himself or someone else.

One more law isn't going to stop carelessness by some gun owners.

Standing Wolf
January 31, 2003, 10:48 PM
One more law isn't going to stop carelessness by some gun owners.

Leftists think laws solve problems and undo damage. In this, as in so much else, they're rock-solid wrong.

4v50 Gary
January 31, 2003, 10:58 PM
I think it's a matter of time before Depts in CA follow suit (because of our own laws regarding kiddies & guns.

DeltaElite
January 31, 2003, 11:01 PM
I completely agree, we don't need any more damn laws.
Heck, we don't even enforce the ones we have.:banghead:

Nathaniel Firethorn
February 1, 2003, 09:59 AM
Why stop there? Why not throw some magic "smart" gun technology at the problem?

We really can build guns that will only shoot bad people. Really and truly.

- pdmoderator

cratz2
February 1, 2003, 05:49 PM
I disagree... this is one instance where I think there should be a .25% federal tax hike and anyone that owns five or less guns gets a Stack-On cabinet and anyone that owns more than five guns gets a nice Browning Gold 48 gun safe.

:p

Atticus
February 1, 2003, 07:40 PM
"The Oregonian reported that on Jan. 13, Emilee Randall was accidentally shot in the head by her 13-year-old brother Matthew with his father's gun while their parents were out of the home. The gun was located in the master bedroom, unattended, on a high shelf .

To make matters worse, Matthew was already on probation for unlawfully possessing a firearm in 2001. He broke probation by possessing this firearm and is currently serving his full 30-year sentence. "



Huh.......? A thirteen year old is serving a 30 year sentence because he violated probation set when he was eleven?

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