HILLSBORO, Ore. (KOIN) — In one week, two young children died from gunshot wounds at their home. Shayla Shonneker was shot in the head by her mother’s boyfriend as he was practicing holstering his handgun for a armored car security position. She was 9.
Cody Hall was only 4 when he died from a gunshot to the abdomen at his home in Donald. The circumstances over that shooting remain unclear.
But there is something gun shop owners and deputies agree on: parents with guns should educate their children at an early age.
“If you see one, don’t touch it. That’s the biggest thing, don’t touch it,” said Sgt. Bob Ray of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. “Go tell an adult immediately. That would help a lot of situations from turning bad.”
Federal law requires new guns be sold with gun locks.
But if you buy a gun “at a swap meet or something, if you buy one from a private party, there is no law that requires that,” he said. “Obviously we want everyone to have locks for their guns.”
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office has gun locks for free at any sheriff’s office or police department through a grant program called Project Childsafe.
“We have seen an increase in the use of free locks, especially with people coming to get them as people buy more firearms,” Ray said.
At the Gun Room on SE Foster Road in Portland, business is booming. Owner Warren Lacasse expressed both frustration and sadness over the death of Shayla Shonneker.
“Unload the gun and then play with it,” he said.
He is also heartbroken over the death of Cody Hall. “These are forbidden things to play with. They’re not toys.”
Deputies said gun locks don’t do any good if they aren’t being used and — even if they are — gun owners should still put their guns in a safe.