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Free Gun Locks Could Have Prevented Child Shooting

Reported: Apr. 7, 2014 10:14 PM EDT
Updated: Apr. 7, 2014 10:49 PM EDT

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Stefano DiPietrantonio) - A Kanawha County family knows all too well the pain that Cross Lanes family is going through right now, after their 4-year-old little girl was accidentally shot in the arm. We reached out to the aunt of Payton Thomas, the little girl who was shot and killed by a friend just before Christmas.

Both shootings are considered accidental, but with very different outcomes. Lindsey Huffman said an accidental shooting is one you had no way of preventing. So, when she saw the story breaking on TV, she immediately thought of one simple device, which could have prevented both incidents from happening, a free gun lock.

"I hate when I see little kids get shot and they deem it an accident,” said Huffman. “There's nothing accidental about it. An accident is something you cannot prevent, this is so preventable."

Huffman was irate when she heard a little girl had been shot accidentally.

"It's not an accident,” she said. “No way, shape or form it's an accident."

Her family is still coping with the loss of their own little girl, her 10-year-old niece Payton Thomas, who got shot and killed just before Christmas by another child, who police said was playing with his grandfather's loaded weapon.

She just saw Payton's death certificate a couple weeks ago.

"And what did you learn from that?,” we asked. “It said accidental, which blows my mind,” she said. “Because an accident is something you can't prevent. This is all stuff you can prevent."

Huffman and her husband have six kids. They also own several guns. But they sleep better at night, because of one, free device.

"A free lock can save your child, and yet nobody does it," said Huffman. "It's a padlock for your gun. There's a little hole behind the trigger. This goes right into it, it locks, no matter how hard you pull that trigger, it is not going to go off!"

"What would you say to that family now, the parents have been arrested,” we asked her. “I know and I'm so sorry, because there's nothing that's going to make it better, nothing anybody's gonna say to make it any better," she replied.

Only difference is, John Seymour and Tabitha Bowen's little girl will be ok. Huffman and the Thomas’ only dream they could still say that about Payton.

"People always say, time heals all wounds,” said Huffman. “It doesn't.” “You just learn how to live with it,” we said. “Yeah, yeah, learn how to cope with it," she agreed.

Huffman said, since Payton's death was ruled accidental, there's no criminal case, only civil. She said the family has chosen not to file suit. She's not sure they could weather it emotionally, still struggling daily, with the loss of Payton.

As for those free locks? Charleston Police Department and the Kanawha County Sheriff and plenty of other local departments have them. This link below will show you a complete list statewide!


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