Based on what is being described in news reports, the murder in Grandview this week is incredibly disturbing.
Gregory Moody, a 41-year-old father, is dead. Two young teenage boys, ages 13 and 14, are in police custody. Witnesses, including two of Moody’s children, said he was trying to persuade one of the boys to put down a gun when he was shot in the chest.
Other news reports quote neighbors who said the 14-year-old had been terrorizing the neighborhood for about an hour on Monday evening, and had already wounded one person when he shot at a house in Moody’s neighborhood.
On Wednesday, Jackson County juvenile authorities charged a 14-year-old boy with second-degree murder and assault. A 13-year-old boy faces charges of second-degree assault. Bein juveniles, their names were not released.
It appears that a good man, known in his neighborhood as “Pops,” has died senselessly and a 14-year-old kid may have flushed his childhood away.
So here is what I want to know: Where does a kid that young get ahold of a gun?
If the answer is “on the street,” then whoever made that transaction happen should face criminal charges. Selling or giving a gun to a minor is a violation of Missouri law.
If the answer is “at home,” it seems someone should be held accountable for negligent storage. However, there appears to be no provision in state law that would make that happen. According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 14 states and the District of Columbia have laws making it criminally liable for gun owners to negligently store firearms so that minors either can or do gain access.
Missouri and Kansas aren’t on that list, but they should be. Politicians in these parts are very protective of gunowners’ rights. But no sane person can think that those rights extend to leaving a gun in the range on an unstable adolescent.
To reach Barbara Shelly, call 816-234-4594 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.