Jamie Chaffin, mother of the 9-year-old boy who took a gun to a Bremerton-area elementary school in February and it discharged in his backpack, wounding another student, took a guilty plea Tuesday on two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm and will spend time in jail.
She’s a convicted felon, unable to legally possess a firearm, and it was on a visit with her that the boy took the pistol, a .45-caliber Heckler & Koch semi-auto. The gun apparently belonged to Chaffin’s boyfriend, Douglas Bauer. According to the Seattle Times, she has agreed to testify against him in court. So much for that relationship.
Bauer faces charges of unlawful possession of a firearm and felony third-degree assault.
Bauer’s defense lawyer asked a judge to dismiss his criminal case against his client. The judge, instead, dismissed an unlawful possession of a firearm charge against Bauer. The assault charge still stands and Bauer will stand trial in July, said Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Morris.—Seattle Times
The Feb. 22 incident touched off a heated debate in print and on the air, and was a precursor for two other high-profile shootings over the following two weeks that left the region stunned, and two youngsters dead. In one of those cases, the mother of a boy who fatally shot himself in Tacoma will be facing criminal charges. In the other case, the parents of a girl who was accidentally shot in Snohomish County haven’t been charged. The father in that incident is a police officer. There has been no word from the Snohomish County prosecutor on that case.
In cases in which a child obtains a weapon through an adult’s alleged negligence, prosecutors generally file a gross-misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment. But when he filed the assault charges in March, Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge said the case called for tougher penalties.—Seattle Times
This column discussed the aftermath of the Bremerton shooting, noting that in such cases, anti-gunners typically emerge from the woodwork to push their political agenda. Within days of that incident, three anti-gun Washington State senators were pushing legislation drafted somewhat hastily in reaction to the incident. Invariably, such bills punish all gun owners for the stupidity of individuals.
Following the Marysville tragedy, this column took a closer look at these political exercises, which we correctly predicted at the time would not get much traction because of the father’s law enforcement occupation.
In the wake of the fatal Tacoma incident, many people began rumblings about a double-standard applied to police and private citizens in remarkably similar cases involving loaded guns left in cars.
Late last month, this column noted a conversation with Danny Westneat at the Seattle Times about incorporating gun safety into the public school curriculum. That suggestion, as Westneat noted a few days later, brought some interesting reactions, which this column discussed.
KOMO talkmeister Ken Schram campaigned following the Kitsap shooting that there should be a law that holds parents accountable when their kids get hold of their guns and a tragedy results.
On Tuesday in a Kitsap Peninsula courtroom, that’s exactly what happened.
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