Last week we saw an armed robbery that showed how important it is to have the skills to go with the tool. This week we will be reading about a brave 16 year old boy used a gun to stop a home invasion.
Brayden Jarrett, a 16 year old from Ohio, was home alone when he saw a suspicious vehicle parked in his driveway. He cautiously armed himself with a 9mm handgun that belonged to his mother. As the stranger approached the door, he stood with the unloaded gun. When the intruder starting trying to open the door, Brayden loaded the gun. As the intruder was able to see inside the house, he was confronted with an armed opponent. He swore and quickly ran away.
Brayden and his mom recount the event in the news story linked HERE.
Brayden knew where to find the gun, how to load it, and was prepared to use it. This is not something we can expect from every 16 year old. Kids and teenagers are known to be less than trustworthy and it takes time to build up trust with any child that they can handle responsibility. However, in most states across the country, we start training our teens to drive at 15 years old. We do so under intense supervision and by default we emphasize a lot of practice before we let them drive on their own. As a parent, you are the first and most important person who will assess when your child is ready for the responsibility of driving a car. But it is also normal for most teens to start learning how to handle a car at these ages.
The reason this becomes important in the context of guns is that it has been shown to be true across our history that teenagers have been willing and able to use a firearm to protect themselves, especially within the home where the lines of self defense are much more clearly defined. But in many states, including Colorado, gun owners prohibited by law from giving access to a firearm to an unsupervised minor. Guns must be locked up and parents are criminally liable if a teenager has access to a gun.
This is a perfect example of a blanket solution that doesn’t work in most cases to preserve life and safety. Should a 5 year old have access to a gun, in almost every case, the answer would be no. But the law cannot make distinctions that parents can. And the broad approach of the law is to simply outlaw it outright in the name of safety. Parents who care about their children’s ability to respond to a threat have a difficult decision to make, break the law or leave their children defenseless. That is not an easy decision.
In our Free Concealed Carry Classes, we constantly stress that everyone is responsible for their own decisions. We educate our students as best as we can about what the laws say, and what the legal and physical risks are and then we encourage people to carefully consider these risks.
Fortunately for Brayden and his mom, there are no laws in Ohio that outlaw Brayden’s access to that gun, and he was able to use to it save himself and his home from this intruder. Stories like this are encouraging to read but we can also use them to help motivate us to be more involved in what happens in our local, state and federal legislatures and courts. The easiest way to do this in Colorado is to become donors or members of proven gun rights organizations like Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, Firearms Policy Coalition and Gun Owners of America.