PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - A 3-year-old in Port Charlotte is dead after investigators say shortly after 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning he got his hands on an unsecured gun and it went off.
Supporters of gun ownership say it's an unfortunate example of negligence on the part of the gun owner, while others say parents should never store a loaded gun in the house. Regardless of your standpoint, there are ways to keep children safe.
Fowler Firearms & Gun Range Manager, Josh Hackman, said he cringed when he heard the news.
"I hate seeing it. It's not good, it's not good for anyone," he said.
Hackman says it's a federal law that minors can not have easy access to firearms, saying "It's a concern for parents, it's a balance. They have to protect their family and they have to keep their family safe from the firearms as well."
Single mother and recent gun owner, Stacy Ughi has two young children and says she wants to be able to protect them.
"It just seemed like the appropriate thing just in case I was in a situation that I found that I needed it," she said.
Ughi and former cop, Rod Platt, were at the Fort Myers gun range, showing her kids how to handle guns safely.
"I've instructed the kids on firearm safety and allowed them to handle the firearms when they are unloaded and explained how dangerous they are," Platt said.
Both believe proper training will protect them in the long-run.
"Part of being here today is to teach them safety which I think is the most important thing," she said.
Not everyone agrees.
Dureen Cook says firearms should never be kept inside the home.
"Personally, I don't like guns. I don't have any guns in my house. I wouldn't have any guns in my house," Cook said.
But whatever your stance, there are ways to secure your firearm and protect those in your home from preventable tragedies.
"You can go as simple as a trigger lock, a lock box, or a gun vault with a fingerprint combination," Hackman said.
No charges have been filed in the Port Charlotte shooting. Detectives have interviewed the parents, but so far, the sheriff's office has not released the names of those involved.