Liberty Down Under
Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership, Inc.
P.O. Box 270143
Hartford, WI 53027
Phone (800) 869-1884
Toll Free: (Orders Only) (800) 869-1884
Fax (425) 451-3959
Sorry dad bites bullet
By GAVIN LOWER
An apologetic father has urged gun owners to make sure their weapons are properly securedafter his 10-year-old son took a bullet to school.
After a court hearing yesterday, Robert George Wilton, 38, said his son and other children took bullets to school during the deer-hunting season after teachers asked what they were doing at home.
But on the school bus a student grabbed the bullet from the youngster's bagand an older student took it to the bus driver.
The bus driver's report led to a visit by Constable Stephen Timmons to the Wilton home at Wilberville on Arthurs Lake in the Central Highlands.
And Robert Wilton ended up being convicted in the Hobart Magistrates Court of storage safety breaches.
The court heard Constable Timmons had asked to see where Wilton stored his rifles and ammunition and was shown a safe in the main bedroom.
Wilton took a key from a key ring hanging from a rack to open the safe which contained four rifles, including one belonging to a friend, the friend's silencer and ammunition.
The prosecution based its case on the safe key being accessible from the key rack and the fact that the safe was in a visible place.
Wilton was found guilty at yesterday's hearing of failing to take all precautions to ensure the safekeeping of firearms and possessing a silencer.
He pleaded guilty to failing to comply with firearms storage requirements and ammunition storage requirements for category A weapons.
Convicting Wilton, magistrate Sam Mollard said in his opinion it was a "basic obvious precaution to store a gun safe in a place where it can't be seen".
Mr Mollard said the same could be said for the safe's key.
Wilton denied the safe could be seen from outside the house and said it could only be seen inside if the bedroom door was open.
He also said he kept the safe with his car keys and carried them with him all the time except when he hung them on the rack while at home.
Constable Timmons told the court that after speaking to Wilton's son he was unable to say how the boy obtained the bullet found on the bus.
Mr Mollard said the offences were of "somewhat lesser seriousness than is typically the case" and fined Wilton $300 and ordered he pay levies and costs of $190.
Outside court, Wilton said the offences had cost him not only the fine but also $3,000 worth of rifles, which were confiscated and would be destroyed.
The keen deer hunter said that was the hardest part of the case.
"Looks like it's put me out of the deer season," he said.
He urged fellow gun owners to ensure they obtained gun safes and made sure they were not clearly visible and that the gun licence holder was the only person who knew where the key to the safe was.
Wilton will now have to provide a reason why his firearm licence should not be revoked and, if he wants to buy another rifle, police will have to inspect his storage facilities first.
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