On 08 March, one Jamie Gilt was shot in the back … by her four-year-old toddler.
I want to make one thing clear right up front: this is NOT a post about gun regulation, 2nd amendment rights, gun owners, or the NRA per se. It is a post about the lethally irresponsible mentality of one specific gun-owner. Period. Nothing more, nothing less.
The day before she was shot, Ms. Gilt posted this on her Facebook page: ‘Even My 4-Year-Old Gets Jacked Up to Target Shoot With the .22’. Her Facebook page, ironically, is titled “Jamie Gilt for Gun Sense”.
On 08 March, Gilt was driving her car, with her four-year-old in the back seat when the gun she kept under her seat, loaded, slid out from under the seat and the child picked it up. He pulled the trigger and the bullet ripped through the back of the driver’s seat and into Ms. Gilt’s back. Her injuries were not life-threatening. At the time, Ms. Gilt could have been, I would argue should have been, charged with ‘criminal negligence’, which would have carried a penalty of up to one year in prison. Instead, she was charged with a 2nd degree misdemeanor, ‘allowing a minor access to a firearm’, which carries a maximum penalty of up to 180 days in jail.
Yesterday, in Putnam County, Florida, the prosecution dropped the charges. Her only punishment is that she must install a holster in her vehicle, and give ten speeches regarding the incident and the need for gun safety. SERIOUSLY????? Would it have mattered if the child had shot the gun through the window of the vehicle and injured or killed an innocent bystander? Would it have been any different if the child had shot himself? What if, upon being shot, Ms. Gilt had swerved into oncoming traffic and hit a school bus full of children? I do not know the answer to those questions. It is, after all, Florida, the same state that let Trayvon Martin’s murderer off scot-free in 2012.
I do know what I think should have happened:
- She should have lost custody of her child for a minimum of five years with only limited, supervised visitation
- She should have permanently lost her license to own a firearm and all firearms should have been confiscated
- She should have served no less than one year in prison
What parent in their right mind places a loaded gun in the hands of a four-year-old and teaches him to shoot? What normal human being with a brain carries a loaded gun in their car when their toddler is also in the car? What parent puts a picture of her child holding a rifle on their Facebook page and brags about allowing the child to shoot the gun? Ms. Gilt considers a gun a toy. In a Facebook post, she shows a picture of her “new toy”. I have many friends who are gun advocates, who themselves own guns, and not a single one of them consider their gun to be a ‘toy’.
Ms. Gilt was criminally negligent and irresponsible. A child could have died. Many people on the highway where Ms. Gilt was driving at the time of the shooting could have been killed. But since none of those things did happen, and since the gun was legally registered to Ms. Gilt, she gets a little pat on the hand and presumably a reminder to be more careful in the future. Ms. Gilt is definitely NOT a shining example of the “responsible gun owner” we all hear so much about. She is an example of the worst kind of parent on earth.
Some days I wonder why I cannot be satisfied just to write stories about nice people helping little old ladies plant flowers in the spring. Sigh.