The Graves County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office strives daily to hold criminal offenders accountable for their conduct and seek justice for those victimized. We do so in accordance with state and federal law, while respecting the constitutional rights and protections granted to every citizen of the United States.

One of the rights

given to citizens, by the Second Amendment of

the Constitution, is the

right to keep and bear

arms. This is a fundamental right that our office respects, protects, and exercises. However,

with every right there comes an inherent responsibility. When

you exercise your right

to keep and bear arms,

you have a responsibility

to ensure the safety of

those around you.

A person may be legally entitled to own, possess,

and utilize a handgun or firearm. However, if that lawful gun owner handles or stores that gun irresponsibly, in a way that may put others in danger, they open themselves up to criminal prosecution for a felony offense.

Recently, such an

incident occurred in

Graves County. Our office convicted a lawful, but grossly irresponsible

gun owner for the felony offense of Wanton Endangerment, First Degree. We held this gun owner accountable for “manifesting extreme indifference to human life” for storing his loaded handgun within arm’s reach of a toddler and amongst items such as candy and game controller, that are

of natural interest to a toddler. Foreseeably, this precious child picked up

the loaded handgun and shot himself. Thankfully, the toddler survived

and is doing well today.

The felony

criminal offense of Wanton Endangerment,

First Degree, punishable by up

to five years in prison, was committed

when this offender handled/stored his gun in such

an irresponsible manner. This otherwise lawful

gun owner’s actions created a “substantial danger of death” or “serious physical injury” to the child. The offense of Wanton Endangerment does not require a child or other person to be shot or injured. The offense was committed when the gun owner made the choice to handle/store his handgun so irresponsibly.

Felony convictions

have consequences. Because he is now a convicted felon, he will no longer have the right to possess a handgun or firearm for any purpose, including hunting or home protection. The mere possession of a firearm

will result in a Class D felony (one to five years in prison) and the mere possession of a handgun

will result in a Class C felony (five to 10 years in prison).

For every right, there is a responsibility. Please help us to ensure Graves County protects one another by exercising the rights we all hold dear responsibly.

Richie Kemp is Graves County’s Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Richie Kemp is Graves County's Commonwealth's Attorney.