CHESAPEAKE, WV (WOWK) – Gun experts are calling for carriers to be more careful and make sure their firearms are properly stored where children can’t get to them after a 5-year old boy accidentally shot himself in the leg in Chesapeake on Tuesday night.
West Virginia is a constitutional carry state, meaning gun owners can legally carry a firearm without a permit. The same applies to Kentucky and Ohio.
There is no law in West Virginia that punishes gun owners for leaving their firearms unattended, such as in the incident on Tuesday.
Sergeant Joshua Lester with the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department says it is crucial that gun owners educate themselves on how to properly handle their firearms to avoid accidents like this happening again.
“We still have a lot of work to do with yesterday’s incident and to seek justice for the for the child and to make sure that this doesn’t happen again,” Sergeant Lester said.
Valley Outdoors in the Teays Valley area sells firearms. The owner, Glenn Yeager, urges every buyer in his store to take caution when they purchase guns, especially if they have children in the household.
Yeager says children can be taught not to use a gun kept in the house, but that they won’t always listen.
“You can never plan on them not playing with it,” Yeager said. “They may have a friend over, and they might do it. So safety is paramount.”
Yeager’s store is one of a few facilities in the region that offer safety courses on the mechanics of firearms, how to use them, and placing them away. Sergeant Lester believes every gun owner should learn all the basics of how to handle their weapon.
“You should definitely understand the mechanics of that gun, how to load it, how to unload it, how to make it safe, how you should be storing it,” Sergeant Lester said. “But when it comes to storage, the one thing you don’t want to do is store that gun where it’s readily available, especially to children.”
The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department is leading the investigation. They say the child is expected to make a full recovery.