Why SA grandfather was charged in connection with an accidental shooting death

Local lawyer explains gun ownership laws

SAN ANTONIO – A 75-year-old man and his 14-year-old grandson were arrested earlier this week in connection with the September shooting death of a 13-year-old boy in north Bexar County. 

According to Sheriff Javier Salazar, the man had previously purchased an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle for his grandson as a gift. However, that wasn’t the crime.

“That is not the problem in and of itself. I think that is kind of a neat right of passage for many families here in South Texas," Salazar said. It’s leaving it unattended and leaving it in a spot where that young man can get it and it was accessible to him at any given time."

The 14-year-old grandson charged with manslaughter. 

The federal law says you must be at least 18 years old to buy a long gun and at least 21 years old to buy a handgun from a licensed dealer. However, federal law is different when it comes to unlicensed dealers. 

Someone under the age of 18 couldn't walk into Academy and buy an AR-15, but they could go to a gun show and buy one or their grandfather could give them one because those are private sales, private transfers,” Don Flanary, Criminal Defense Lawyer said. 

Flanary said Texas law holds adults criminally liable for guns that aren’t secured. 

“If a child gains access to readily dischargeable firearm with criminal negligence fails to secure the firearm, so if I leave a gun out, even if I don't give it to my grandson, if I leave it out and the kids play with it, that’s a crime,” Flanary said. 

Flanary said the person can be charged with a misdemeanor. 

“If I point a gun at you and I'm just playing around, and I accidentally shoot you it's not murder. I didn't mean to kill you, but I was so reckless that I shouldn't have done that and I caused your death,” Flanary said. 

“It’s okay to have guns in your home, just make sure that you are doing so safely. I think this is a perfect example of what not to do with a gun,” Salazar said. 

University Health System said it’s partnering with Bexar County officials and a group called “Be Smart” to launch a gun lock distribution and Be Smart education program.

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