Boy Shoots Sister Over Video Game

Parental Liability can legally hold parents responsible for child's crime.

A tragic story was reported out of Monroe County, MS.  A nine-year old boy shot his sister because she wouldn’t give him the controller to a video game.  The young girl died as a result of the fatal shot to the head.  If this were a case of a child shooting another child from the neighborhood, could the parents be held responsible?  It’s called Parental Liability.

Parental liability generally applies when a child is 8-10 years old.  It lasts until that child turns 18.  Cases involving property damage can result in the parent being pursued under civil law.  Cases involving access to firearms can be pursed under criminal law.

Kentucky has Child Access Prevention laws (CAP laws), that fall under criminal law.  These CAP laws attempt to reduce the incidents suicide and shootings by minors.  CAP laws typically deal with the storage of or access to firearms.

According the Giffords Law Center, a study conducted in 1999 found that the vast majority of guns used in child suicide attempts were stored in homes familiar to the child.  The same website reports a US Secret Service and US Department of Education study which found 65% of school shooting cases involved a gun taken from a family home or relative’s home.

In Kentucky, a parent is not generally held liable for a gun crime involving a gun that was improperly stored.  There is nonetheless a standard which can be applied to parents and guardians if a hangun was provided to a child whom the parents knew was at risk of committing a crime with that gun.  This is why parental liability may become a factor in cases of youth crime.  Hiring a skilled criminal defense lawyer will be worth the cost.

Murder and manslaughter are considered to be crimes against the State.  Prosecutors may have discretion when it comes to pressing charges against the 9-year old, who shot his sister, and/or his parents.

In many circumstances, the authorities may decide that the crime, due to its tragic nature, may not require further prosecution.  If they do decide to pursue the case, parents will need to hire an experienced lawyer who understands how to manage a murder or manslaughter case.

Link to original news story: