No weapons charges will be filed against a western Pennsylvania man whose son was killed in a gun accident in December, the Mercer County District Attorney said on Jan. 16. The chief prosecutor concluded that the father did not knowingly violate state weapons laws when a handgun he was trying to sell went off unexpectedly, fatally wounding his 7-year-old son.
The accident occurred after the father and son went to a gun store to try to sell two guns, including a 9mm handgun. The father did not have a license to carry a concealed weapon, which Pennsylvania law requires to carry a loaded gun in a vehicle. Because of this, the father unloaded the gun's magazine before driving it to the store.
However, he did not realize that a bullet was still in the chamber. The father could not sell the gun so he and his son returned to his pickup truck. As the son buckled himself into his child safety seat, the father placed the gun on the console, where it suddenly fired, hitting and killing the son.
Though the gun was not unloaded as the father thought, the prosecutor said that he did not violate the concealed weapon law because he "had a mistaken but good faith belief that he had properly secured and stored the firearm." The bullet in the chamber was from the last time he had fired the gun two months previously. The man kept the gun secured and separate from the magazine. He could have faced up to five years in prison if he had been charged.
Source: The Miami Herald, "DA: Pa. dad won't be charged in gun store shooting," Joe Mandak, Jan. 16, 2013
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