Gun shop owner to parents: "You got to keep your guns locked up! - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Gun shop owner to parents: "You got to keep your guns locked up!"

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BERKELEY COUNTY, SC - Berkeley County officials said a tragedy was avoided Tuesday morning.

A 13-year-old student brought his mother's gun to Sedgefield Middle School without her knowing.  The student told Deputies he brought the gun because of an on-going dispute with another student.

Despite that reason, gun supporters said parents need to do a better job keeping their guns safe in the household.

"You got to keep your guns locked up; same thing as your medicines," Arlen Pendergast said.

Pendergast owns the ATP Gun Shop in Summerville.  He said he sees parents come into the store on a regular basis, hoping to purchase a gun. Pendergast himself even owned guns while parenting his children.

"I started my son out at four because of the natural curiosity of guys. They like guns," he said.

The gun shop owner claims that type of interaction with children is key.  The children, Pendergast said, have to learn about a gun while the parents are at the home.  Rules are also a necessary step when it comes to protecting children.

"I'm a firm believer in teaching the child how to shoot and allow them to use guns," Pendergast said. "In my house, the rule was not that you can't touch guns, you can only do it when I'm around."

The gun shop has plenty of safes parents can buy that can protect the weapons.  Many of the safe have codes that are easily typed in, so gun owners can easily access the safe if the weapon is needed.  The safes are also nearly impossible to break into if someone doesn't know the codes.

Former Attorney General Charlie Condon said even though the child took the gun without the parent knowing, the mother will not face charges because of Tuesday's incident.

"There would be no criminal liability there," Condon said. "They would have to prove that the parents knew or somehow been activelyinvolvedd with supplying the weapon."

The child is currently inColumbiaa with the Department of Juvenile Justice.  The courts have two days to decide whether to release the child back to his/her parents.
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