Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Lack of Gun Safety Led to Three Deaths | Mary Knowlton Is Latest Victim of Preventable Tragedy | Mary Knowlton Is Latest Victim of Preventable Tragedy

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Lack of Gun Safety Led to Three Deaths | Mary Knowlton Is Latest Victim of Preventable Tragedy | Mary Knowlton Is Latest Victim of Preventable Tragedy

Article excerpt

OUR VIEW

First, the victim was David Morse.

Then it was Stephen Brumby.

On Tuesday, it was Mary Knowlton.

Each of them was shot to death in our region during a three- month span.

The circumstances that led to each fatality were different, but there was one common factor: The shooter violated fundamental gun- safety rules.

As our nation continues its longstanding yet intensifying debate over rights and regulations involving guns, these unnecessary, preventable deaths should initiate an intense focus on safety measures and lead to renewed recognition that, when sensible practices are not religiously followed, the results can be tragic and traumatic.

These things should go without saying, but three innocent people are dead because weapons were not handled safely.

Morse, 48, was found dead May 16 in the yard of his North Sarasota home. The Medical Examiner's Office determined that he died from a single, .22-caliber bullet that struck the back of his head. The friends with whom Morse lived believed he was outdoors at the time, watering flowers on the large lot.

The investigation is continuing, but the Sheriff's Office reported that the bullet that killed Morse was fired by a person shooting a .22 in the direction of a wooden fence in the small backyard of a nearby property. Detectives removed a section of thin, wood fencing at the rear of the lot; it's believed that a target had been hung on the fence. Bullets were found elsewhere in the residential neighborhood, underscoring the irresponsible action of one or more shooters.

Stephen Brumby, 14, perished July 3 at a Sarasota gun range. He was shot by his father, Clayton Brumby.

The range owner said the father had been "practicing all the right safety protocols." But, while he was shooting, a hot shell casing exited the gun and landed on his right shoulder, on the collar by his neck. …

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