On Valentine’s day of 2019, 16-year-old Joshua Owen took his parents’ handgun to V. Sue Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. He allegedly attempted to shoot three students but the gun didn’t fire at first. Owen was said to fire a round into the air. Luckily, no one was seriously injured.
His parents, Dale and Tamara Owen were charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor which is a fourth-degree felony. The charges allege that not only did the Owens keep an unsecured firearm in the home but also lied to police about having a gun in the home. This was after Joshua Owen was said to have made threatening remarks against the school.
More recently, the Owens, or more likely their attorney, are arguing that the New Mexico law for contributing to the delinquency of a minor is too vague.
In a court filing asking for an appeal by the Owens in early September, they question if the charge should apply to this case because they were “overly cautious” with Josh’s oversight and medication and there is no law requiring guns to be kept in a locked safe.
They also gave the argument that under the state’s “broad application of this statute,” they would have to restrict everything in their home, questioning if parents would be obligated to hide their keys if a child steals their car and drives recklessly.
Leaving an unsecured gun on the top shelf of a bedroom closet is probably the polar opposite of ‘overly cautious’. I would say that it fits more under the description of ‘criminally reckless’.
You have to love it when ‘responsible’ gun owners try and shirk their responsibilities.
UPDATE 3/29/2021: Dale Owen has passed away after a short hospitalization. Tamara Owen’s case is still pending.