Editorial: Don’t make shooters’ parents into criminals

Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, wants to make parents criminally responsible if their child manages to get possession of their gun.

“If a kid gets a hold of guns and takes them to school, those guns weren’t secured,” she said. “Maybe they were thought to be secured or hoped to be secured, but they were not secured.”

Burdick was quoted in The Oregonian, speaking in response to the recent tragic deaths at Reynolds High School near Portland. Jared Michael Padgett used his parents’ gun to kill fellow student Emilio Hoffman and injure a teacher. He later killed himself. To access the weapon, he defeated some type of security that hasn’t been publicly described.

Such a horrific event, coupled with too many others in recent months and years, makes us all yearn for a simple solution. Sadly, none exists.

That’s not to say parents shouldn’t be urged to secure their guns. But make them criminals because their child defeated their efforts? That goes many steps too far.

Burdick has failed to convince her fellow legislators on this point before and they should continue to resist.