TN lawmakers push for gun lock law

Statistic from the Centers for Disease Control show you are more likely to die from a gunshot than a car crash in Tennessee. The Volunteer State is one of the nation’s most friendly in terms of gun laws, but a recent Senate bill might change that.

It’s called “Makayla’s Law,” and it would punish parents as criminals if they left a gun out where children were playing. Makayla Dyer is an eight-year-old who lived in East Tennessee. She was shot and killed by a boy in her neighborhood after they argued over a puppy.

Tragic stories like hers are more common than you think.

On June 9, 2015, a Memphis father was working in the yard when he heard a bang. When he ran into the house, he found his four-year-old son, Aabriel, dead.

Investigators said the child was playing with a gun and accidentally shot himself.

No charges we ever filed. FOX13 tried to talk to Aabriel’s mother, but she declined and said the family is still grieving.

Under Makayla’s Law, if a child accidentally kills someone with a gun that was left out, the parent would be charged with a Class C Felony. In Tennessee, that equals a prison sentence of up to 15 years.

Lawmakers said 10 children were killed by accidental gunshots last year. FOX13 spoke to State Representative Antonio Parkinson about the issue.

“We have to find a way to make sure these accidents don’t happen again,” Parkinson said.

The bill would require gun stores to post signs warning that it’s a criminal offense not to lock up guns around children under the age of 13.

FOX13 went to a local gun store and found locks that can be very effective. In many cases, they are extremely easy for an adult to unlock with a key. The cost isn’t prohibitive either.

“You’re talking about $2-3. (It) could save a life,” Todd Gray from Accent Guns told FOX13.

Many police departments will distribute them for free. Call your local police and ask.

Makayla’s Law has been tabled for now. A lobbyist for the NRA testified against the bill, and Memphis-based Senator Sara Kyle tabled the bill for at least two weeks.