According to a recent Fox News report on Thursday, September 14, 2023, a tragic case of gun violence and irresponsible gun ownership has led to a Baltimore grandmother being sentenced to 4 years in prison.
April Gaskins received the sentence after her 9-year-old grandson accidentally shot and killed 15-year-old NyKayla Strawder with a firearm he accessed in Gaskins’ home.
The shooting occurred in August 2022 on Linnard Street in Baltimore.
According to reports, Gaskins’ young grandson was playing with a gun when it went off, fatally wounding Strawder.
Though state law prevented charges from being filed against the 9-year-old due to his age, prosecutors were able to charge Gaskins for her negligence in allowing access to the weapon.
Gaskins was indicted earlier this year on charges of reckless endangerment and allowing a minor access to a firearm.
She received a 3-year sentence for reckless endangerment and a consecutive 1-year sentence for the firearm charge, totaling 4 years in prison.
Baltimore City State’s Attorney Ivan Bates commented that the sentence makes clear that in Baltimore, everyone will be held accountable for their role in gun violence, especially when it involves children.
He stated that responsible gun ownership can be a matter of life or death for guardians and that this case shows the potential deadly consequences when firearms are not properly secured and access is carelessly allowed.
The prosecutor expressed hope that the sentence provides some justice and eventual healing for the Strawder family as they cope with the tragic, preventable loss of their loved one.
He emphasized that gun owners have a duty to prevent unauthorized access, particularly by minors who may not understand the dangers and consequences.
A simple gun lock or secured storage could have prevented this accident that destroyed two young lives.
Child access prevention laws, education, and safety measures like locks and storage boxes can make a real difference in avoiding these preventable tragedies.
Gun violence continues to be an epidemic in America, one that often claims innocent lives.
While the right to bear arms is constitutionally protected, it must be balanced with responsible ownership.
Owning a gun is a right that comes with great responsibility.
Parents and guardians have a solemn duty to protect minors from accessing deadly weapons until they are of an appropriate age and have learned essential gun safety.
The outcome is a tragedy with no winners. A young boy must live with accidentally taking a life, causing trauma no child should endure.
A family mourns their beloved daughter, her life cut tragically short. And a grandmother will spend years incarcerated, knowing her negligence contributed to this preventable heartbreak.