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Gun control advocates concerned after man nearly shoots teen

Gun control advocates concerned after man nearly shoots teen



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Gun control advocates are reacting after a homeowner almost shot his dog-sitter when he mistook him for a burglar.

The boy didn't get the message that his neighbor had come home early from vacation, so he went over late Sunday night to take care of the dog. West Jordan police Sgt. Greg Butler says, "The homeowner was inside, asleep with his wife, when he was startled awake by a noise in his house."

According to police, the homeowner called out, no one replied, so he fired three shots, two in the direction of the boy. Luckily, he wasn't hit. The young man's father called police. Butler says, "They are not pushing for any type of prosecution, and they are grateful that it didn't turn out to be a horribly, tragic event."

The case has some worried that the standard of thinking, when it comes to guns, is: open fire first, think second and then explain.

State law makes it clear: You are justified in using force to defend yourself in your home when you feel threatened. But Steve Gunn, with the Gun Violence Prevention Center, says too often morality and the law are in conflict.

"There's a moral aspect of this, and there's a legal aspect; and the two are not necessarily the same thing," Gunn said. "I think that there have been cases in Utah where people have been shot, where it was legally justifiable but not morally justifiable.

He recommends retreating from the use of force, even in your own home.

E-mail: tcallan@ksl.com
E-mail: cwall@ksl.com

Tom Callan
    Cleon Wall

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