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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Family of boy killed in firearm accident seeks gun safety focus

Friday, September 5, 2014

The family of Shane Nichols, the 7-year-old boy who was accidentally shot and killed by his 12-year-old brother in April, is asking county residents to talk to their children about gun safety in honor of Shane's birthday on Sept. 5.

The family also invites residents to visit Mountain View Memorial Park on Sept. 5 to place a carnation on Shane's grave. Balloons will mark the site.

About one-third of households with children have a gun in the home, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.

Children and adolescents are naturally curious about firearms and may be tempted to "play" with a firearm they find, according to Project Safechild.

Make sure young people in your home are aware of and understand these safety guidelines:

•Don't go snooping, or allow other kids to go snooping, for guns in the house.

•If you find a gun in your house, or anywhere else, STOP! Do not touch it or allow anyone else to. Leave the area and be sure to immediately tell an adult.

•Even if a gun looks like a toy, don't touch it. Some real guns look like toy guns, so don't take a chance. Leave the area and immediately tell an adult.

Extra precautions are needed when children are in an environment where firearms are present, specifically the storing of guns and ammunition. Use these safety tips from Safe Kids Worldwide:

•Store guns in a locked location, unloaded and out of reach and sight of children.

•Store ammunition in a separate locked location, out of reach and sight of children.

•Keep the keys or combinations hidden.

•When a firearm is not in its locked location, keep it in your sight.

•Make sure all guns are equipped with effective, child-resistant gun locks.

•If a visitor has a gun in a backpack, briefcase, handbag or unlocked car, provide them with a secure location to hold it while they are in your home.

•Leaving guns on a nightstand, table or other place where a child may gain access may lead to injuries and fatalities.

•Make sure your children understand the difference between a gun they see on television or a video game and a real firearm.

Shane was killed on April 21 when he and his brother were playing at a neighbor's house on Double Oaks Lane in Burnt Chimney. Shane was shot when his brother found a handgun and accidentally discharged it.

The neighbor, Jeffery Carl Ireson, 56, was indicted in June on four felony charges of child endangerment and neglect.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt. It is a determination by jurors that enough evidence exists to warrant a trial.

The four charges against Ireson are Class 6 felonies, punishable by one to five years in prison if Ireson is convicted. His trial is set for Oct. 16 at 9 a.m. in Franklin County Circuit Court.

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