A fatal shooting in Crozet on Tuesday has sparked a conversation about a much broader issue - gun safety laws. NBC29 spoke with experts about what's on the books in Virginia and some measures gun owners can take within their own households.
As Albemarle police continue to investigate Tuesday's shooting, legal analyst Lloyd Snook explains there are certain circumstances where legal repercussions could apply - but probably not in this case.
"There are three things to think about. Civilly, can somebody sue somebody? The answer is really no. Second, criminally, has there been a crime that has been committed by the parent? Probably no, unless it's under a child abuse and neglect theory," said Snook.
Snook also explained when what's called the theory of negligent entrustment could apply - which means giving a gun to someone who then misuses it.
"If I have given a gun to a child and the child misuses the gun, I might be held responsible. If I simply make it possible for the child to go get the gun and do something with it, I'm almost never going to be held responsible," said Snook.
But gun owners are staying mindful of what some would call a personal responsibility.
"It makes all the difference in the world," said gun expert Vicki Hale of Woodbrook Sports & Pro shop.
Gun locks can't always protect from the unthinkable, but gun owners say it's an investment that can make a difference. Most gun manufacturers provide a lock with the gun. Some are built in, or you can use a cable lock - which will work on semi-automatics.
But experts say the best bet for keeping the guns protected is a safe.
"The safe is the ultimate because you need some type of combination to access it, so it's a little more difficult to access the guns if they are locked away," said Hale.
There are smaller versions, with digitized combinations. Some even have alarms to let the gun owner know when the combination has been tampered with.
If you are in need of a gun lock, you can contact your police department. They usually have cable locks available through a partnership with Project ChildSafe.
Natalie Wilson joined the NBC29 news team as a general assignment reporter in April 2012.Full Story
Natalie Wilson joined the NBC29 news team as a general assignment reporter in April 2012. She is a proud alum of Howard University and is currently pursuing her Master's in Communication at Johns Hopkins. Email/ Full Story
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