UPDATE: Parents of child killed by gunfire introduce Makayla's L - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Parents of child killed by gunfire introduce Makayla's Law

Posted: Updated:

UPDATE: Investigators have released the name of the Apison toddler killed while playing with a gun Monday.

According to the Hamilton County Medical Examiner, 3-year-old Gavin Pittman accidentally shot himself in the head while playing with a gun.

A spokesperson for the Sheriff's Office says the investigation is ongoing and when completed, all information will be turned over to the District Attorney's Office.

Pittman's death is like several other cases, calling attention to a new proposed law in Tennessee. The proposed law in question is called Makayla's Law. It stems from a case last year, where an eight-year-old East Tennessee girl was shot and killed by her 11-year-old neighbor when she would not let him play with her puppy.

The legislation could make it a Class C felony if a firearm is left loaded and accessible to a child under 13. 
 
"It's not something you have to be politically correct about, you can't talk about. It needs to be out there," says Kristi Manning.

Manning owns Carter Shooting Supply in Harrison.
 
"We educate them about everything else. Educate them about guns," says Manning.

Manning says her heart breaks for the family of three-year-old Gavin Pittman, who died Monday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, while playing inside his family's van at their Apison home.

His obituary reads in part, "Gavin was a typical little boy who loved Elmo, John Deere tractors and wearing his camo clothes." 

"I can't imagine what the family's going through, what the parents are going through. I couldn't imagine losing one of my kids to something like that," says Manning.

Manning is not surprised the investigation into Gavin's death has sparked a renewed conversation about gun safety and children.

"I really think parents should teach their kids. I have a lot of customers that come in here and they're like, 'Oh, we keep it put up. We keep it in a lock box. We keep it here.' That's not the answer. The kids will find them. If you tell them don't touch that, they're going to want to touch that even more."

Tennessee Safe Project, an advocacy group out of Nashville, mentioned Gavin's shooting while pushing for Makayla's Law to pass in the State House. It would increase penalties for adults who do not properly secure guns around children.

The director says it reached out to Sheriff Jim Hammond, saying: "When we asked, he did say that 'Makayla's Law' would be relevant to the situation." 

"I'm not all for this increasing the penalty. I think penalty enough is to know that your kid got a hold of your gun," says Manning.

Manning says increased education is the answer.
 
"Hiding them and hoping your kids don't find them is not the answer. Education. You've got to educate your kids about guns," says Manning.

Channel 3 has learned the Department of Children Services is conducting its own investigation alongside law enforcement. Channel 3 has also learned  three other children in the home, ages one, five, and 10, have been placed with a family friend.

Gavin will be laid to rest Friday.

Lawmakers are still reviewing and voting on Makayla's Law.

Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story.


PREVIOUS STORY: Hamilton County Sheriff's Office deputies are investigating a shooting that killed a three-year-old boy Monday morning.

The shooting happened while the child was inside the family's vehicle while parked at their home in Apison on Gates Lane.

The child was taken to a hospital in downtown Chattanooga where he was pronounced dead.

Investigators are at the scene, gathering information and working to determine what happened in the incident. The Hamilton County Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct its investigation into the cause and manner of death of the child.

Stay with Channel 3 for more on this developing story.

Powered by Frankly