Charges not likely for suspect’s mother in Battlement shooting
The mother of a Battlement Mesa teenager suspected of shooting a 9-year-old likely won’t face any charges in the incident, even though her gun was involved in the shooting.On Tuesday, 14-year-old Eric Stoneman shot and killed Taylor DeMarco after retrieving a .22 caliber semiautomatic pistol belonging to his mother, Val Stoneman, Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said.Guns do not have to be registered to an owner in Colorado, but the gun was the mother’s responsibility because it was in her home. The gun would not be considered the suspect’s because Colorado law prohibits minors from owning guns, Vallario said. Colorado law doesn’t include any stipulation for storing guns safely, locked or separated from the ammunition. Restrictions like these are commonly called “child access prevention” laws, according to Web sites for Common Sense About Kids and Guns, and the Brady Campaign.For an adult to be charged when a child commits a crime with the adult’s gun, the adult has to have committed “at least a reckless act,” Vallario said. That “recklessness” could include giving a child a gun.The mother in Battlement Mesa thought her son didn’t know the gun’s location, he said.Colorado is like most other states in not having a child access prevention law. Only 19 states have laws or legal rulings that specifically hold gun owners accountable for leaving a firearm easily accessible to a child, according to the Brady Campaign.The 9th Judicial District Attorney hasn’t decided whether to charge the suspect in the case as a juvenile or adult. The suspect faces charges of manslaughter, reckless endangerment, felony menacing, juvenile in possession of a handgun, prohibited use of a weapon and resisting arrest.
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