GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Another adult has been charged after a child got ahold of a gun.
On Sept. 12, a 2-year-old found a handgun and fired it inside a Grand Rapids home, police said. Nobody was shot, but Jaulondra Cheyenne Goins was charged with third-degree child abuse following the incident.
“When you’re that young, we’re not going to be able to charge you with any criminal offenses,” Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said. “And to be honest, it’s more of the adults’ fault, quite frankly, when stuff like this happens.”
This is not the only recent case in which a parent or a guardian faces or has faced charges related to a child getting ahold of a gun.
“We are not too far removed — I think it’s been two years that a child got ahold of a gun and shot another child, who died,” Becker said. “We filed charges against the grandfather in that circumstance for involuntary manslaughter, and we also filed child charges for the kid.”
And after a 7-year-old brought an unloaded gun to a Grand Rapids school last academic year, his mother, Aubrey Wilson, faces a charge of fourth-degree child abuse, as well as an additional charge of lying to police during the investigation.
“Nobody is saying, ‘You can’t have guns. We shouldn’t have guns. We’re trying to ban guns.’ Responsible gun owners … lock their guns up. They have gun safes. They have gun locks,” Becker said. “Things like this to make sure A). that kids in their house don’t get it or B). if something happens and they’re stolen, they make it more difficult for the criminals to steal guns.”
The Grand Rapids Police Department offers free gun locks at its downtown headquarters. Michigan’s safe storage laws are expected to take effect next March.
The severity of each parent’s or guardian’s charge depends on the facts and circumstances surrounding the case. Charges can stem from fourth-degree child abuse all the way up to manslaughter.
“So if people die, we’re going to take a very hard look at that and do everything we can to hold people accountable,” Becker said.