Shooting of Phoenix boy serves as grim warning for all gun-owning parents

Mar 22, 2017, 4:46 AM

PHOENIX — A 9-year-old boy who died Tuesday after being shot in the head in a north Phoenix home serves as a grim reminder for all parents with a weapon in the home.

Landen Lavarnia died after what was initially reported as an accidental shooting. His mother, Wendy Lavarnia, told police she left a loaded gun within reach of her 2-year-old, who she said picked up the gun and accidentally shot the older sibling.

Even though police are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the case, Ashley Losch with the Glendale Fire Department said every parent with a weapon in their home should make gun education a priority.

“We need to lock them up, we need to keep them out of sight, we need to keep them out of reach,” Losch said. “The best thing is to secure your weapons, keep the bullets away from the guns and make sure that everyone in the home understands these are not toys.”

Losch said accidents can happen, even to families who are responsible.

“My heart breaks for those parents,” she said. “Think about the guilt that you would feel on that day, think about the remorse you would have, ‘If only I had locked the gun.'”

If you want to keep weapons in the house, Losch said it is important to teach kids the ins-and-outs of them when they hit an appropriate age.

“How do I handle it? How do I handle it safely? How do I fire it? What happens when I fire it,” she said of questions that should be addressed. “Once we’ve taken that excitement, that mystery out of it, and we’ve shown them how to do it safely, they’re not as intrigued by it.”

Even after kids are shown how to use the guns, Losch said it is important they are not allowed to use them without parental supervision.

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Shooting of Phoenix boy serves as grim warning for all gun-owning parents