“There's the potential for parents in situations like this be held responsible,” Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office spokesman Brennan Matherne said. “One of the main charges we would look at in that situation would be failure to supervise. But those charges are difficult to prove.”
Parents are more likely to be held responsible civilly rather than criminally in cases such as this, especially if the child injures or kills someone with the weapon by accident or intentionally, Matherne said.
“The fact is that kids are going to act out on their own no matter how safety conscious their parents are with their guns,” he said. “Children are going to make their own decisions and parents can only do so much, and they can't supervise their children 24 hours a day.”
A retired Terrebonne Parish sheriff's deputy said he puts an emphasis on gun safety, especially for parents, while teaching classes on concealed handguns.
“If you don't learn anything else about guns, learn about using them safely,” Willie Radau said. “Safety is the No. 1 priority in learning about handgun use.”
Radau said parents should implement measures in their home to safely store their weapons including installing trigger locks on handguns, keeping their weapons unloaded when not in use, storing ammunition and guns separately and storing guns in a gun safe.
“If you have a kid in your house, we want you to lock your gun up,” Matherne said. “Kids are going to be kids and the bottom line is if they want to get to that weapon, no matter how safe you make it, they will find a way to get it. But, if you store your ammunition separately, install trigger locks and put your guns out of reach of children, you and they will be a lot safer.”
Juvenile detectives learned the 10-year-old brought the gun to Thibodaux Elementary to show to his friends, the Lafourche Sheriff's Office said. The child's stepfather owns the gun, and detectives said they do not suspect the boy had any intention of firing the weapon or hurting anyone.
The student was taken to the Juvenile Justice Facility in Thibodaux pending a hearing in Thibodaux City Court. His name is not being released because of his age.