Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America applauds Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman for bringing charges against the father who shot and killed his two-month-old daughter on Christmas Eve. The father, who admits to negligently handling his newly purchased 9mm handgun, was charged this morning with involuntary manslaughter, a second-degree felony, in addition to reckless endangerment and reckless endangerment of a child.
Originally, Mr. Stedman referred to the shooting death of Kestyn Davis as an “accident” and said he was “not sure if charges would be filed.” As a result, members of Moms Demand Action from across the country sent thousands of emails, calls and Tweets to the D.A. asking that charges be filed in what had already been ruled a homicide.
While we fully support the father being held accountable for this crime, we also acknowledge the horrific grief this family is experiencing. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Davis family, and we hope their tragedy can serve as an example that encourages others to be more responsible with their firearms and, in turn, saves the lives of other children.
For too long, the gun lobby has protected gun owners from being liable for gun-related deaths, including negligent shootings. Shooting and killing a human being due to an unsecured firearm and/or negligent handling of a gun should and must be considered more severe than an “accident.”
Our grassroots movement is working to change laws pertaining to negligent shootings at the state level, and ensuring adults are held accountable for shootings that result from not safely storing their firearms. As such, Moms Demand Action is calling on the Pennsylvania legislature to propose and pass laws that ensure adults will be held accountable if their negligence results in the shooting of a child. In addition, we call on media reporting on this incident and others like it to use the words “criminally negligent” instead of “accidental.”