Every year, nearly 3000 children and teens die from gunfire, and nearly 14,000 are injured.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Minnesota foster care couple leave loaded gun in car

A Minnesota "responsible" gun owner leaves loaded gun in his care used to transport foster children. The man and his wife have now surrendered their license to have foster children in their home as a result. From the article:
The Hautalas’ difficulty stemmed from an incident that occurred on June 28, 2010, according to a certified letter sent to the couple on March 18, 2011. That letter announced their license would be revoked but offered them the opportunity to appeal the decision. The Hautalas did appeal, and this month’s final decision was the result of that process.
The letter said St. Louis County officials received a report on July 1, 2010, about the incident three days earlier. It said a child riding in the back seat of the couple’s van found the gun and reported it to Shannon Hautala.
The gun was in a pouch behind the driver’s seat and not in a case, the letter said. Anthony Hautala explained that he had placed the gun there during a trip out of state and forgot to take the gun out of the vehicle when he returned. He acknowledged he didn’t have a key lock engaged on the gun, the report said.
About the same time, the Hautalas failed to report a medical condition and failed to report a change in household membership to St. Louis County as required under their license.
The county notified Hautala on Aug. 26, 2010, that he was found responsible for maltreatment (neglect), and that he had a right to request reconsideration. After Hautala made that request, the county responded on Sept. 27 that the maltreatment determination had been affirmed and he had the right to request a fair hearing. He didn’t make that request.
The Hautalas had been licensed to provide foster care for up to two children, according to the Department of Human Services.
No foster children were staying with the Hautalas at the time of the incident, said Mark Snyder, who oversees child foster care for the St. Louis County Department of Public Health and Human Services, and none were assigned to them while the issues were being resolved. There were no criminal charges, Snyder said.
In a telephone interview, Tony Hautala said the incident occurred “after a week’s trip. I forgot about it and when I went to get it, it was a day too late.” But Hautala said he practices responsible gun ownership. He said he has a “carry” permit and that his children have been trained around guns and understand proper gun etiquette. Children in their care are not abused or mistreated in any way, he said.
"Responsible gun ownership" does not include leaving loaded guns around where children can find them. Every gun in the hands of a child or teen must first pass through the hands of an adult.

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