Are Parents Liable for Their Child’s Gun Violence?

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When 18-year-old Peyton Gendron allegedly fired at Buffalo’s Tops Friendly Markets, he hit Zaire Goodman’s neck. Fortunately, Goodman survived.

Gendron is now Faced with 25 criminal accusationsIncludes hate-motivated domestic terrorism, primary murder, attempted murder, and murder as a hate crime. He pleaded not guilty.

However, Goodman also wants to hold Gendron’s parents accountable.Goodman’s lawyer recently Petitioned the court to provide testimony records and preserve testimony For civil lawsuits. He claims that his parents Paul and Pamela Gendron ignored the warning sign and “did not know the tendency of his son’s malicious deeds.”

And the parents of 15-year-old Ethan Cranby, who was in charge of the shootings at a high school in Oxford, Michigan, Facing criminal accusations of involuntary mansions.. Prosecutors point out that Ethan’s parents not only presented him with a 9mm Sig Sauer pistol, but also ignored many warning signs of Ethan’s intention to violence.

What can parents be responsible for?

Parental responsibility Covers civil and criminal acts of their children. In a civil lawsuit, the plaintiff is sought for financial damages. In the case of criminal activity, parents may pay a fine to the state or face more severe criminal penalties.

For example, if your child drives your car to your neighbor’s house, you may be responsible for damages to your house. However, some states limit the amount of property damage that parents must pay.

Now suppose your child drives your car to your neighbor.You may be criminally liable for injury or death of your neighbor Unintentional manslaughter If you leave the key in the vehicle while the engine is running.

Civil liability: negligence

In civil proceedings, such as intentional and malicious property damages, parents may have to pay for damages caused by their children. In the case of a shooting in Buffalo, Goodman’s lawyer must prove that Gendron’s parents were negligent.

There is Four Factors in Negligence Proceedings To be successful: obligations, breaches, causality, and damages. He may insist:

  • Tariffs: Parents had a legal duty of care to Goodman
  • violation: Parents acted or did not act in a particular way to violate their obligations
  • Cause: Their behavior (or lack of behavior) caused Goodman’s injury
  • damage: Goodman was injured by their actions or omissions

Criminal liability: unintentional manslaughter

Unintentional manslaughter is the crime of unintentionally killing someone by recklessness or negligence. An example of unintentional manslaughter is when someone is killed while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

There is Three Factors Proving Negligence:

  • Your actions caused the death of someone
  • This act was “intrinsically dangerous to others or recklessly ignored human life.”
  • You knew or should have known that your actions threatened the lives of others

In the case of Crumbley, prosecutors may argue for reasons such as purchasing a 15-year-old (violating Michigan law) firearms. Ignore or support disturbing events It was decided to recklessly ignore human life.

Criminal Liability: Child Access Prevention Act

according to Gifford Law Center“Survey shows that 70-90% of guns used for youth suicide, unintentional shooting of children, and shooting at school by shooters under the age of 18 are obtained from home or the homes of relatives and friends. I am. “

Child Access Prevention Act (CAPS) or “Safe storage method“Gun owners are responsible for children’s unsupervised access to guns. Currently, gun owners are criminally responsible for the careless storage of child-accessible firearms in 29 states and the District of Columbia. However, safe storage of the gun.

Burden of proof

Burden of proof of civil lawsuit Evidence dominanceIn short, Goodman’s lawyer needs to prove that the actions of Gendron’s parents are likely to have caused the shooting.In the case of a criminal case, the proof responsibility is Beyond reasonable doubt..

Civil proceedings have a lower standard of evidence and are more likely to succeed than criminal proceedings. So even if you can’t file a criminal procedure You can still win a civil lawsuit..


In general, states hold parents responsible for their children’s behavior until they reach adulthood. In most states it is 18 years old. In New York, the age of 18, Goodman’s lawyers can find it difficult to hold Gendron’s parents accountable for his actions.

Within 3 weeks of the Buffalo shooting, New York passed extensive gun controlIncludes raising the age of ownership of semi-automatic guns from 18 to 21. Congress is working on gun control and may pass new legislation. See if state or federal law extends liability to parents of minor children.

You don’t have to solve this yourself – with the help of a lawyer

Meeting a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights.Please see us Lawyer directory To find a lawyer near you to help.

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