Fatal Pellet Gun Tragedy: Potential Weapon Not Toy


February 26, 2012

Lots of young boys have played with pellet guns as kids and never contemplate the possibility of serious injury. The family of a 15-year-old Clarke County teenager experienced the tragic reality last year that pellet guns can result in catastrophic injury or even wrongful death. The young boy was shot in the temple and suffered a fatal head injury when he was shot when playing with a friend in a trailer park in Oconee County.

The two friends were shooting at tin cans and the incident is considered a tragic accident. Pellet guns (BB guns) can be extremely dangerous without adequate supervision. Accidental shootings involving pellet guns are more common than you might think.

Pellet gun accidents may be caused by a number of potential parties including:

  • Owner of the gun
  • Person supervising the target shooting
  • Manufacturers of the pellet gun
  • Person firing the pellet gun

While the circumstances of the Oconee County incident are still uncertain, pellet gun accidents can be the result of defectively designed or manufactured pellet guns. A fatal pellet gun incident last February in North Carolina was the product of a defectively designed pellet gun. A grandfather was shooting a pellet gun and went to check to make sure that the safety was engaged when the gun discharged and the bullet penetrated his grandson’s eye before being implanted in the boy’s brain. The boy died from the traumatic brain injury. According to a law enforcement officer who investigated the incident the injury was a result of the gun design which involved the safety being located right next to the trigger. A number of pellet guns have this same dangerous design. Pellet guns also may lack appropriate warnings or instructions.

Even pellet guns with a safe design can result in serious injuries and wrongful death if parents do not treat pellet guns with the appropriate degree of caution. Pellet guns are potential weapons not toys and should be treated as such. Pellet guns should be secured so that children cannot get access to them without parental supervision. Children including teenagers also should always be supervised when using pellet guns. It is important that parents also explain the proper use and risks associated with a pellet gun so that children know never to point the gun in the direction of someone for any reason.

A Waycross, GA mother suffered through a similar tragedy in 2009 because she thought a pellet gun that her son and some friends were playing with was a toy. While the boys were playing video games, a boy picked the gun up and pretended to shoot it at the chest of the woman’s son. The gun discharged and struck the boy in the chest causing a fatal chest injury.

If someone you love has been seriously injured or suffered wrongful death caused by the negligent design, improper storage, inadequate supervision or other unsafe practices associated with a pellet gun in Georgia, the experienced Georgia personal injury lawyers at Montlick and Associates have been representing Georgia injury victims since 1984. Our Georgia personal injury lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

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Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.