FRUIT HEIGHTS — The Davis County sheriff is warning parents of the importance of talking to their children about gun safety after some elementary-age children discovered a loaded gun in a field and it went off.
The boys were playing in the area of 400 South, west of U.S. 89, on Feb. 27 when they discovered the handgun.
“This is one of those rare occasions that the kids found it before we did,” Sheriff Todd Richardson said.
Investigators said one of the children pointed the gun at a fence and pulled the trigger. The gun didn’t immediately fire, but it went off when the boy lowered the gun to his side.
Nobody was injured, deputies said, and the event resulted in the kids running home to tell their parents.
It remained unclear who left behind the weapon.
Richardson hedged on whether the owner may face charges for leaving the handgun behind. He said if it were accidentally lost, it would be a different situation than if it were dumped during the commission of a crime.
Elizabeth Nielson’s home is close to where the gun was found. She said she had already been apprehensive about her children going there because of a reputation for unsavory activity in the wooded fields.
“That does kind of make me nervous," Nielson said, "because my kids are some that like to go down there as well. (It) makes me think that I need to remind my kids, do a little more review of what some of our rules are and how to be careful around guns.”
Richardson said the most important lesson children need to hear is to stay away from random guns they find and to tell adults about them.
He also noted a couple of handling pointers — to keep a gun aimed “down range” and not at anything “you don’t intend to destroy,” and not to put a finger around the trigger area when carrying the weapon.
Richardson said it’s not uncommon for a gun to unexpectedly fire or misfire when it has been out in the elements for an extended period of time.
“Guns that have been out in the weather for a while are a little bit temperamental,” he said. “In many cases we’d tell the parents not to touch it and call the police and let us come over and handle it.”
Richardson said detectives are working on some potential leads on who owns the gun, but the Davis County Sheriff’s Office has been asking for those who believe they are missing a handgun to call them at 801-451-4150 to identify it.