Parents continue to face charges after children gain access to guns

The mother of a 6-year-old who shot his teacher is now facing charges related to the incident. It's just the latest case where a parent has been charged after their child's criminal activity.

The parents of the accused Michigan high school shooter, the father of the Highland Park parade shooting suspect and the stepmother of the 9-year-old who brought a gun to a South Holland daycare are all facing charges.

"I think the message is going to go out loud and clear that parents need to be careful when they have guns in the home," said FOX 32 Chicago Legal Analyst Karen Conti.  

The 26-year-old mother of the Virginia boy who shot his first-grade teacher is charged with felony child neglect and misdemeanor child endangerment. The boy himself has not been charged.

"This is not holding parents responsible for the criminal acts of a child," said Conti.  "This is actually endangering a child, to act reckless, and not to take care of a child as you should."


This past week, the stepmother of the 9-year-old who brought a gun in his backpack to a South Holland daycare, where it went off, was also charged with reckless conduct.  

"Whenever you have a child, and you leave a gun unlocked, even if there are no laws requiring a parent to lock up a gun, the prosecutor has discretion in charging," said Conti.

In the wake of the Highland Park Parade shooting, the suspected shooter's father was charged with felony reckless conduct for allegedly helping his son get a FOID card.  

"I do think this could be a deterrent. I think when the public sees that if you have a gun in the home, you can be charged and go to jail if your child gets their hands on it," said Conti.

Conti said she sees the case against the Virginia mother as strong, based on reports her son repeatedly showed signs of violent behavior and that she failed to intervene or take it seriously.