There’s nothing reckless or negligent about failing to notice your gun is loaded, amirite?

There's nothing reckless or negligent about failing to notice your gun is loaded, amirite?

by digby


No charges will be filed against the man who accidentally shot and killed a Charlotte teenager in late 2011 in the town of Chadbourn, according to Columbus County District Attorney Jon David.

The announcement came months after the investigation began into the teen's death. The District Attorney's office had been waiting on some additional laboratory testing before making a final decision. A news release from the DA did not elaborate on what the latest testing did or did not show them.

Police say James Blackwell fired a rifle from inside his home on Third Avenue in December 2011 while attempting to clean it. Blackwell told police he thought the rifle was empty. A bullet from the gun hit three people outside the home, including Jasmine Thar, then 16 years old.

A news release states that this was definitively an accidental shooting and that Blackwell did not willfully nor intentionally appear to shoot Thar.

At least he didn't accidentally kill her in an automobile crash. Then he could have been in serious trouble:
Vehicular homicide (also known as vehicular manslaughter) in most states in the United States, is a crime. In general, it involves death that results from the negligent operation of a vehicle, or more so a result from driving while committing an unlawful act that does not amount to a felony. In the Model Penal Code there is no separate category of vehicular homicide, and vehicular homicides that involve negligence. Both are included in the overall category of negligent homicide. It can be compared to the offense of dangerous driving causing death in other countries.

All states except Alaska, Montana, and Arizona have vehicular homicide statutes. The laws have the effect of making a vehicle a potentially deadly weapon, to allow for easier conviction and more severe penalties. In states without such statutes, defendants can still be charged with manslaughter or murder in some situations.

The victim may be either a person not in the car with the offending motorist, such as a pedestrian, cyclist, another motorist, or a passenger in the vehicle with the offender.

Of course there's nothing negligent about cleaning your gun and failing to notice there's a bullet in the chamber. It's not as if a gun is dangerous or anything.

This isn't all that uncommon. Justice is very oddly applied when it comes to guns in this country.