Lesson 2: Legal Responsibility and Liability Accountability

Erica Fisher CWL Courses

Firearm ownership and carrying a concealed handgun are serious responsibilities.

  • You are solely responsible for the safe handling, storage, retention and use of your firearm
  • You could be civilly sued for any damage or injury that occurs because of the use of your firearm or use of your firearm by another. For example:
    • Through negligent supervision of an unsupervised child who has accessed firearms.
    • Through negligent entrustment where a parent has allowed the child or other adult to use a dangerous instrument, such as a handgun, without reasonable care, such as, for example, when a child or other person has been allowed to use your firearm, but has not been instructed on proper gun safety and has injured another.

A parent can be held liable for harm caused by their child if the parent directed, encouraged or ratified the conduct.

Owners are accountable for how their firearms are used. At all times:

  • Be Responsible. You are responsible and may be held criminally and/or civilly liable if damage or injury occurs because of your failure to use a reasonable standard of care when handling your firearm.
    • For example, Idaho Code 18-4006(2) Involuntary Manslaughter, is the unlawful killing of a human without malice committed in the perpetration of, or attempt to perpetrate, any unlawful act, or in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawful manner, or without due caution and circumspection, or in the operation of any firearm or deadly weapon in a reckless, careless or negligent manner which produces death.
  • Pay Attention and Be Sure of Your Surroundings. When handling a firearm, pay strict attention to what you are doing and what is going on around you.
  • Ensure Safety. Make certain that the firearm is unloaded and secure when not being used.
    • According to the Gun Violence Archive, unintentional firearm discharges caused the deaths of 2,015 people in 2017. 61,331 total injuries and deaths occurred whether accidental or intentional.
    • Some reports indicate that 2/3 of accidental shootings happen in the home.
    • Firearms are the 2nd leading cause of unnatural death for children.
    • Most self-inflicted or unintentional firearm injuries occur with guns that originate either from the owner’s home or in the home of a friend or relative. Read the study from David Grossman, M.Ed. HERE.

Nearly two-thirds of all gun deaths in the United States are suicide. Having access to guns triples the risk of death by suicide.

While only four percent of suicide attempts not involving a gun result in death, 90% of gun suicide attempts end in death.

Suicide is NOT inevitable and thinking about suicide is NOT permanent. Asking about suicidal thoughts and/or removing the means, a gun for example, can enable a person with suicidal thoughts to recover from the mental health crisis without taking their life.

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