Michigan Man Charged After Toddler Shoots Herself

  • The father of a 2-year-old girl who accidentally shot herself in the head with his gun last week has been charged under a recent state law requiring the safe storage of firearms. Michigan Lawyers Weekly
  • Michael Tolbert, 44, was arraigned on Monday on nine felony charges, including first-degree child abuse and lying to a peace officer, becoming the first person to be charged with violating Michigan's Gun Secure Storage Law. Huffington Post
  • According to Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton, Tolbert's daughter shot herself in the face with his loaded handgun on Valentine's Day. The toddler remains in critical condition. CBS (LR: 2 CP: 5)
  • The law mandates Michigan residents store firearms safely if it's "reasonably known" that a minor could be present. Violators can receive a fine of up to $500 or up to 93 days in jail. CBS (LR: 2 CP: 5)
  • The law took effect on Feb. 13, one week after a Michigan jury convicted a minor's mother of involuntary manslaughter for the 2021 shooting at Oxford High School that killed four — the first time a parent had been held responsible for their child executing a mass school shooting. ABC News
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, firearms have been the leading cause of death in minors since 2020. The Gun Violence Archive reports that, since the start of 2024, guns have killed over 200 children and injured another 400. CNN (LR: 2 CP: 5)

Narrative A:

  • It's incomprehensible that Michigan's new safe storage gun law was violated within a week of its implementation. An innocent girl was grievously injured as the result of her father's criminal negligence, which is why Tolbert should be held responsible to the full extent of the law. This legislation is an important step towards protecting children from the dangers of firearms and gun violence.

Narrative B:

  • While it's common sense that firearms should be kept out of the unsupervised hands of vulnerable young children, it's a far stretch to suggest that a toddler gaining access to an improperly stored firearm is the same as a teenager using a loaded gun to commit a mass shooting. The liability for these two crimes should differ, as teenagers have a higher degree of maturity and agency. Placing the blame for the actions of disturbed children on their parents sets a troubling precedent, and this law should not be conflated with legislation laying blame for the decisions of young adults at their parents' doors.
    NEW YORK TIMES (LR: 2 CP: 5)

Nerd narrative:

  • There's a 0.1% chance that the Second Amendment of the US Constitution will be amended or repealed before 2025, according to the Metaculus prediction community.
    METACULUS (LR: 3 CP: 3)

Funny how narrative b ignores the fact that a toddler was able to get their hands on a gun

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