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Father charged after Durham boy shoots self

Posted February 2, 2012

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— Police said Thursday that they have charged the father of a 4-year-old Durham boy who shot himself last week after finding a gun in the family's home.

Don Nichols, 40, was charged Wednesday with violating a state law on the storage of firearms to protect minors.

Keaton James Nichols was in stable condition Thursday at Duke University Hospital.

Police said the boy found a gun at home on Brightfield Lane last Friday morning and shot himself in the head.

A call to 911 initially reported the incident as a head injury after a child had fallen off a counter.


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  • Glock Ranger Feb 3, 2012

    I have a vague idea of who you are, Lightfoot3, however, that was a long time ago. Always good to cross paths with one of the "oldies". I hope all is well with you. My email hasn't changed, either. It's still markcline@hotmail.com.

    I don't disagree with your comments. I try to see all sides, and you're correct, that a judge/jury could go either way on this. There is the probability that he may end up in my classroom, with the end result being a reduction of his charge. That's happened several times in the last 6 months, or so.

    Since they decided to issue a warrant and charge him, rather than a simple infraction, there may be more to the story. Either way, I plan to keep a close eye on the story. No one can truly predict how this will develop.

    I sure do miss the old forum. That one had style, and there wasn't this 1000 character limit, or the censor delay. Also, for those who missed it, there was organization in the outline form. This is just a collection of pithy comments.

  • Lightfoot3 Feb 3, 2012

    "Dad probably thought he was exercising due dilligence in keeping the firearm out of the 4-year-old's reach. " - Glock Ranger

    Hey Glock Ranger! We debated from the early WRAL days (1995 or so), though I wasn't Lightfoot back then. We also commmunicated a bit about firearms, concealed carry, politics, etc. via email too, so you might be able to figure out who I am. My emails haven't changed. :)

    I kind of agree with your statement, though it's rather subjective. One person might think a gun is out of reach while another might disagree. I'm not sure which way a jury would go, if it got that far without a plea. I can see it both ways.

  • donnabravo Feb 3, 2012

    Overall firearm mortality rates are five to six times higher in the Americas (12.72) than in Europe (2.17), or Oceania (2.57) and 95 times higher than in Asia (0.13). The rate of firearm deaths in the United States (14.24 per 100,000) exceeds that of its economic counterparts (1.76) eightfold.

  • Lightfoot3 Feb 3, 2012

    "A locked or unloaded gun has no meaning." - dwr1964

    Understand, but it's still the smart and LEGAL thing to do. There are plenty of gun safes on the market that allow quick, fingertip access in case of need. While a little more pricey, I prefer the Vline Deskmate safes. I can have it open and the gun out in about 2 to 3 seconds, literally. No fumbling with keys, no messing with a trigger lock, and no worry with ammo (since the gun is already loaded).

    "long time no see. Did you ever come to the bunker and sign up?" - Genie v2.0

    Hey there! I can't remember what the "bunker" is, a forum or a shooting range? Haven't signed up, whatever it is. :) And I hate the moderated WRAL comment section we have now, but that's all we've got. Funny how history keeps repeating itself (I've been posting on WRAL since about 1995, and the forums keep coming and going).

  • sssh.. whisper Feb 2, 2012

    This is a very sad situation... My only wonder is why was 911 called about a head injury from selling off the counter???? Didn't someone hear the shot fired???? Prayers that the little one has a full recovery.

  • dwr1964 Feb 2, 2012

    A locked or unloaded gun has no meaning. What are we supposed to do....Excuse me mister robber, Could you please wait until I have a chance to load my guns before you do your thing? .......Stupid

  • Glock Ranger Feb 2, 2012

    Dad probably thought he was exercising due dilligence in keeping the firearm out of the 4-year-old's reach.

    NCGS 14-315.1 says that "(a) Any person who resides in the same premises as a minor, owns or possesses a firearm, and stores or leaves the firearm in a condition that the firearm can be discharged and in a manner that the person knew or should have known that an unsupervised minor would be able to gain access to the firearm, is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor if a minor gains access to the firearm without the lawful permission of the minor's parents or a person having charge of the minor and the minor..."(a)(2)uses the firearm to "cause personal injury or death with it not in self defense..."

    Section (b)states that a person is not prohibited "from carrying a firearm on his, or her body, or placed in such close proximity that it can be used as easily and quickly as if carried on the body."

    IMHO, that means either on you, or within arm's reach.

  • gabewilliams12 Feb 2, 2012

    my husband keeps his weapons secured at all times. i dont even know how to open the locks. when he gets deployed, the weapons are removed from the house.

  • geosol Feb 2, 2012

    This is a terrible and tragic situation, and i'm not sure that bringing charges against the dad will accomplish much after the fact except increase the guilt complex that he is undoubtedly experiencing. Guns are very dangerous and must be handled and stored correctly. And some people just shouldn't have any of them at all. We don't need more people with more guns, we need responsible and intelligent people to act that way, and keep those who are neither from having them in the first place.

  • oleguy Feb 2, 2012

    I was raised in a house, with Guns, knives and chemicals, Lye, cloradane,, creasoap, (sp) dyniamite,,,,. We knew better than touch or even think about touching,,, Wood heater glowing red, We knew better,,,,
    Are we raising dummer kids these days,, or just not doing anything to train kids,,,