The father of Highland Park shooter Robert Crimo III will face seven counts of reckless conduct after sponsoring his son’s gun license. Robert Crimo Jr. surrendered himself to police after the charges were announced. Only an individual can face a crime related to reckless conduct. The government, of course, would never file charges against itself for authorizing the license to Crimo III. However, that is exactly what happened.
The prosecutor for the state told the press that parents are in the best position to determine whether or not their child should have a gun. However, this is equivalent to shifting the responsibility of licensing to the parents and away from the government. It would be an admission that the licensing process does not work and relies entirely on parents to determine if their children should be allowed access to weapons. In this case, the boy was 19 when his gun license was sponsored.
Analyzing the Prosection’s Arguments
Whenever there is a mass shooting, everyone wants to blame the parents. For once, there is a legal argument that can be made against the parents. The father has been charged with seven counts of reckless conduct for sponsoring his son’s gun license after an incident with police in which he threatened to kill his family and was allegedly suicidal. However, because there was no arrest, the incident never showed up on a background check, and hence, the boy was gifted a gun license that he used to murder several people.
The law requires that anyone under the age of 21 get parental sponsorship for a gun license. An attorney for the defendant calls the charges “baseless and unprecedented.” Indeed, it is rare for a parent to face charges despite public outcry to the contrary. However, the father did sponsor a gun license that was used in a mass shooting. He did have foreknowledge that the boy was a threat to himself and others.
While defense attorneys are raising the alarm that such prosecutions can lead to the imprisonment of average everyday parents, there is enough political rage behind the prosecution to convince a jury to convict. In these cases, only a judge can come between the defendant and the public.
In Michigan, a prosecutor has filed involuntary manslaughter charges against the parents of a teen who helped their son get a weapon that he used to kill four others. The parents have appealed rulings that allow the case to move forward, so the trial is stalled until those arguments are heard.
As of right now, parents may be held legally responsible for sponsoring a gun license used in a mass shooting. Prosecutors must establish that there is some prior reason for them to deny the license, but otherwise, it is unclear what more they have to prove. This is a dangerous case for the public. It is the government’s job to authorize gun licenses. No one in their right mind is going to suspect their child of being a mass shooter. The government should expect that never to happen.
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