Two-Year-Old Girl Dead When ‘Responsible Gun Owner’ Leaves Loaded Shotgun At Daycare

James Fuller Stepp is, according to local law enforcement in Henderson County, North Carolina, a “responsible gun owner.” So responsible that he went hunting, came home, and left a loaded shotgun on the kitchen table at his house. One problem with this scenario: His wife runs a daycare out of their home.

Two-year-old Abigail Newman was shot in the neck by Stepp’s still-loaded 20-guage shotgun. Stepp’s wife made a frantic call to 911 Monday morning, telling the operator who answered:

 “One of the guns was loaded on the table and I didn’t know it. A little girl was shot.”

Mind you, police are not confirming that a daycare was being run out of the Stepp home, but if four children were present in the house when they arrived and Ms. Stepp was watching all of them, it stands to reason. Officials say they are:

“Trying to determine how many children were at the home where the shooting occurred, where adults were when it happened and what led to the ‘accidental discharge’ of the shotgun.”

Monday evening, James Stepp was arrested and has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

But what I find most galling about his incident is that the police keep repeating that Stepp is simply “a good guy with a gun,” and that the whole thing is merely “a tragic accident.” They even added:

“In no way are we trying to indicate … that (Stepp) was pulling the trigger.”

Well he might just as well have pulled it, hadn’t he? Either way, a child is dead and the reason is because this guy left a loaded weapon sitting around the house. This is a responsible gun owner? Who in their right mind leaves a loaded gun sitting on the kitchen table?

I was raised around guns, hunting, and all things that are so typical to men who grow up in the South. And I can tell you that had I left any weapon–loaded or unloaded–lying around the house, my parents would have told me I had just forfeited my right to use a gun as long as I lived under their roof.

In my opinion, this is what should happen to James Stepp: He should never be allowed to own any gun of any type ever again.

Sound extreme to you? Maybe you’d like to tell that to the parents of Abigail Newman.

This article was originally published by the same author at


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