A Leon man has been charged in the accidental shooting of his 8-year-old brother in their West Road home on Dec. 12.
Eli W. Wengerd, 20, was charged Thursday with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Cattaraugus County Sheriff Timothy S. Whitcomb said the boy, who is recovering from a stomach injury at home, was shot as Wengerd played with a handgun that he had not registered and for which he had no pistol permit.
"Fourth-degree criminal possession" is not nearly strong enough. This is the problem. Even in New York, which is one of the better states for gun control, so-called accidents are treated much too lightly. Felony criminal negligence should ALWAYS accompany the misuse of a gun, ESPECIALLY when someone is injured or killed.
But, unfortunately, even in New York this is usually not the case. This young idiot gun owner will probably end up with nothing more than a slap on the wrist with no loss of gun rights. That makes it a double tragedy.
But don't worry, next year or the year after he'll do something wrong again. Maybe then disqualified for good.