Two-year-old Kaleb Ahles died on Wednesday from a self-inflicted wound from his father’s handgun. After the young and very adorable boy found the gun in the glove compartment of the car, he accidentally shot himself in the chest.
The tragic event occurred amid the chaos of the family moving out of their East Lake, Florida, home. According to authorities, Kaleb’s father, Kevin Ahles, had stored a .380 caliber handgun in the vehicle glove box.
At around 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Kaleb found the gun in the car and shot himself in the chest. Sheriff Bob Gualtieri explained that the toddler was able to access the gun, turn it to his chest, pull the trigger and shoot. After that fatal shot was fired, Kaleb’s mother and aunt attempted CPR. However, Kaleb died at Trinity Hospital soon after.
Sheriff Paul Gualtieri spoke of the incident, “It was a tragedy… where everything lined up the wrong way.”
Stories like this are utterly heartbreaking, especially for parents of toddlers. I have two toddler sons very close to Kaleb’s age, and I promise you that they can open any drawer and get into any cabinet in a minute flat.
You can’t watch your kid every second. It’s just not possible. But no matter how you feel about gun ownership in a home, you can secure a gun safely and store it in a place that no child could access.
If Kaleb was anything like my two sons, then he was already at the age where he naturally wanted to pick up gun-like objects and say “bang.” After finding a loaded gun in his father’s car, the little boy didn’t stand a chance. There was no way he could have known that playing with a real gun would come to this tragic end.
According to the sheriffs at the scene, the family took “reasonable steps” to secure the small gun. In this case, I have to disagree. The gun was stored in an unlocked glove compartment that was easily accessed by a child. Though it is hard to blame parents who will certainly blame themselves for the rest of their lives, there is no way that this gun was stored safely.
Gun ownership may be up for debate, but here is what isn’t: gun responsibility. Gun owners with small children need to take even more precautions, given the curious nature of toddlers. If you keep your gun in a car or another location where a toddler can get to it, it is not secured.