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Child Dies By Gunshot At Yellowstone National Park Campground


A young girl died after reportedly shooting herself in a Yellowstone National Park campground Saturday.

A short park release said that park rangers "responded to a 911 call from a woman at the Grant Village Campground, who told the emergency dispatcher that her young daughter had shot herself with a handgun."

Resuscitation efforts by responding emergency medical staff were unsuccessful.

The incident is under investigation. The child’s identity was being withheld pending notification of extended family members.

No further information was expected before noon Sunday, the release said.


Rudy - I'm absolutely angry about the loss of a 3 year old, and no 3 year old should have access to firearms. I'm pretty well in the same boat as you, as both a retired medical professional who has patched up too many gun shot victims, and also as a gun owner who doesn't salivate at the idea of my weapons - which are locked up.

My only point earlier was that I hate to see a tragedy like this generate willy-nilly the True Believers on either side of this volatile issue. A three year old is dead. I'd like to see her family mourn before she becomes a rhetorical pinata.

I don't think you and I have any real disagreements.

Time for respect? For whom? And for how long? What about the next kid that comes to my autopsy table with a self inflicted gun shot wound because he/she got their hands on a loaded gun? There is no such thing as a secure loaded gun unless it is locked up. It would be quicker to load an unloaded gun than to unlock a loaded one. For what it's worth, I'm a Medical Examiner and a Life member of the NRA. But I am not a fire breathing no exceptions 2nd Amendment firebrand as I have seen 1st hand the carnage of the innocent kids in the name of having a loaded firearm for "self protection".

Rudy - there is no excuse for having an unsecured loaded gun in a campground. I can see reasons for legally having a loaded gun in a campground, since frankly an unloaded gun is just a clumsy tire iron.

My problem is that I'm uncomfortable with all the usual suspects, including myself, rehasing the usual arguments for and against this soon after the child was killed. It just seems there should be a time for respect.

I've heard the rationale. There are those who grew up with guns, hunting, and shooting who feel vulnerable if they don't have a gun loaded and ready for "self defense" as their daily routine. Even those who don't carry as a daily routine hear about wild animals and think they need to have a loaded gun ready. Now that NPS allows it, we're going to see people with loaded guns in NPS campgrounds.

There was a case a couple of years ago where someone fired at a bear in a crowded Forest Service campground. The camper legally possessed a loaded .45 in an area where loaded open-carry was allowed. It was actually his fault since he was stupid enough to store a loaded cooler placed on top of a picnic table that was covered with a shelter that the bear tore through. There were bear boxes which he chose not to use. I'm not sure how wise it was to start shooting at anything in a campground where tent fabric is even less of a protection against gunfire than wooden walls, and never managed to hit the bear. And if he managed to hit another camper, I'm not sure if he could be tried for negligence. I would clearly say it would have been negligence since he attracted the bear and he was willing to put other human lives at risk by firing a gun.

There is no excuse for having a loaded gun in a campground. I don't care whether you believe guns should be there or not, there is no point in having it loaded in a campground unless trouble is brewing. The owner should be charged with negligent homicide and the gun should be confiscated and destroyed.

It's tragic that a child has been harmed, and that parents & family are aggrieved, firstly.

This is the first firearms death I've heard of, since the ban in Parks ended.

Campgrounds are not-infrequently fairly edgy places. I had great fun in them, back when I was a participant in the illicit & boisterous activities for which some folks think campgrounds are the logical & obvious venue.

That some headed for the campground might think, 'Hmm - better pack that pistol', is a reaction that has a degree of rationale behind it. Folks are known go to the campgrounds to 'have fun', for a little recreational substance-abuse. We hear them getting loud, personalities shifting. Some go beyond the usual 'bar-patron' behavior; serious drug-activity, and peripheral gang-type posturing arises too.

A few in the campgrounds, will have an 'external' reason or motive to be armed, 'everywhere' they go. A female with a threatening male ex-partner, repeatedly violating restraining-orders, for example.

'Crazies' show up in campgrounds, too. Drifters and borderline homeless, with ramshackle vehicles they might be surreptitiously repairing. Ratty tarps strung up, etc. Taking up residence too near one of these for the weekend can increase the caution with which we view campgrounds.

But certainly, if a firearm is the choice that is made, there is a big responsibly involved. Any gun that a young child can get to, isn't being handled right.

And Megaera, if we didn't have cars we wouldn't have people killed in car accidents. If we didn't have ropes we wouldn't have climbers falling. If we didin't have bears, we would have people mauled in the park, ....... Of course all of those "didn't haves" have consequences - like there would be for the millions that defend themselves each year with a gun.

It is no wonder the gun control advocates equate the debate to religion, since religion is based on faith not facts.

If the parents hadn't owned the gun in the first place...

But I agree with whoever just said might as well try to talk religion as gun control.

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