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Should Parents Be Charged For Failing To Lock Up Guns Used By Their Kids?

Robert Ray
People attend a vigil for the victims of a fatal shooting at Marshall County High School on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, at Mike Miller Park in Benton, Ky. Gabriel Parker, 15, told police it was easy to take his stepfather's gun. He shot 16 people, killing 2.

The Washington Post's John Woodrow Cox joins Bucks County Democrat and state Rep. Helen Tai, who recently proposed a package of bills requiring the safe storage of firearms and the reporting of lost or stolen weapons by their owners, as well as penalties for those who fail to comply with the law.

State law prohibits children age 17 or younger from possessing a firearm, save for hunting and shooting competitions. But unlike 27 states and Washington D.C.Pennsylvania parents can only be charged for "knowingly and intentionally" providing guns to minors -- not for leaving loaded weapons lying around. 

In a Post analysis, Cox found children have committed at least 145 school shootings since 1999, and that most of those weapons came from the minor’s home or those of relatives or friends. Yet parents are rarely charged and almost never convicted.

Should parents be liable? Ceasefire PA and Firearms Owners Against Crime weigh in on Thursday's episode of The Confluence.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators join veteran journalist Kevin Gavin, taking an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here.

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