A small child in a West Side apartment found a loaded gun between the couch cushions on January 27. The child fired the gun, but it barely missed his face.
The office of Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein said that the bullet almost hit the child, which would have burned the child and given the child short-term hearing loss. There was another kid in the room. A security camera inside the apartment caught the whole thing on film.
Klein said on Tuesday that 28-year-old Matthew Rivas, the boy’s father, pleaded guilty on April 4 to two counts of negligent storage of a firearm and one count of child endangerment. This was the first time the city’s new safe storage law for guns was put to the test.
Rivas was given a sentence of 10 days in jail and two years of probation by Judge Jarrod B. Skinner of the Franklin County Municipal Court. If Rivas fails to finish his probation, he will have to spend 170 days in jail. Skinner also told Rivas to pay a $150 fine and told the police to get rid of the gun used in the crime.
Klein’s office said that Rivas’s lawyer and the prosecutors both agreed on the sentence after talking with Lashandra Allen, the mother of the two children involved, for a long time.
The tweet below confirms the news:
Klein said that the case shows why we need more gun control laws, not less.
Klein said, “As a father, the thought of a small child reaching into a couch cushion, pulling out a loaded gun, and firing it with the barrel almost in his face is almost too scary to watch.”
Klein said that there is nothing wrong with being a responsible gun owner, but it is careless to leave a gun around the house where kids can find it.
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Parents Worst Fear
This case is happening at the same time that the state and the Buckeye Institute are suing the city over recently passed gun safety laws. These laws include rules about how guns must be stored in homes so that kids can’t get to them. There are also not many high-capacity magazines in the city.
The city’s top prosecutor, Joseph Gibson, who tried this case, said, “My heart breaks for these children, whose innocence and sense of safety have been lost in a situation that could have been avoided.” “This case is a clear example of how important safe storage is for public safety, and it shows that the city is serious about holding people who put children in danger accountable.”
Allen said in a news release from Klein’s office that a parent’s worst fear is for someone to hurt or kill their child.
“But to know that it can happen when they are in the care of someone who is supposed to protect them is heartbreaking,” said Allen.
Allen talked about how important it is to keep guns safe and locked up with a gun lock or in a safe.
“We got lucky, and I’m glad that the situation didn’t lead to a funeral. “This will be a very important memory for me and my family for the rest of our lives,” said Allen.
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