Boy Finds Gun Yet Knows What To Do

Boy Finds Gun Yet Knows What To Do
by Chad D. Baus

Buckeye Firearms Foundation
Buckeye Firearms Foundation

Ohio –-( Why aren’t we teaching EVERY child in the USA these principles?

The Toledo Blade is reporting that when 11 year-old Mason Knannlein found a gun laying in the yard, he had his grandfather to thank for having educated him to know what to do in such a situation.

From the article:

The whitish top on the handgun lying in the grass in front of a West Toledo home was what caught Mason Knannlein’s eye, but the 11-year-old didn’t do what he suspects most boys would when making such a find: pick it up.

Instead, Mason shouted to his next-door neighbor, in whose yard in the 4200 block of North Lockwood Avenue he had found the weapon, to call police while he waited nearby to make sure nobody else touched it, either.

” It was a really nice gun,” said Mason, whose family includes several law-enforcement officers and who has been learning to shoot for four years.

But handling the 40-caliber Smith & Wesson could have had tragic results, said Mason’s mother, Angie Knannlein. The gun had a round in its chamber and no external safety device, ready to fire if the trigger were tripped. Ten more bullets were in its magazine.

” There’s every chance it would have gone off. And there are kids in all the neighborhood houses around here,” she said. ” Somebody could have been killed, or at least hurt.”

” He quite possibly could have saved somebody’s life,” agreed Lori Knannlein, Mason’s aunt and a Lucas County sheriff’s deputy who lives near Mason’s house. He called her, and she arrived before Toledo police did.

Where the gun came from, though, was a mystery.

Lori Knannlein said it was obvious to her the weapon, which had not been reported stolen, was thrown by someone to the spot where it was found, because of dirt and grass smudges on it.

The deputy also said there had been a foot pursuit in the neighborhood the night before, stemming from a burglary report. But she couldn’t conclusively link the gun to that incident, and said it seemed unlikely that it could have lain where it did for most of a day before being found last Wednesday.

Mason told the newspaper he learned two rules about ” found” guns from his grandfather, Lawrence ” Whitey” Knannlein, a retired Toledo police officer: Tell an adult, and don’t leave it unattended. Mr. Knannlein said his second rule actually was ” don’t touch it,” but Mason followed that one too.

” I’m very proud of him. He did just the right thing,” Mason’s grandfather said.

For his actions, Mason is expected to receive a junior safety award from Toledo City Council on Nov. 9, Mason’s family said.

…Mr. Knannlein said his grandson has been learning about guns and gun safety he was 7, and the boy has been very safety-conscious.

” He really loves to shoot. He fishes with his Dad, and he hunts and shoots with me,” Mr. Knannlein said.

A child without that background could have picked up the weapon and accidentally fired it, said the grandfather, who teaches a concealed-carry course at Owens Community College.

” Other kids would have picked it up,” Mason agreed. ” They might have brought it to school.”

Teaching children what to do if they find a gun is no different than teaching a child that ovens should always be considered hot. Teaching children what to do if they find a gun is imperative for all parents, whether or not they keep a firearm in their home, for the simple fact that the child will not always be in the home. The potential exists for even young children to come into unauthorized, unsupervised contact with a firearm, and only proactive education by their parents can prevent a negative outcome when they do.

  • Society has determined (after seeing enough homes and apartment complexes burn to the ground because little Johnny was playing with matches) that it cannot be left to parents alone to teach children not to play with matches.
  • Society has determined (after seeing enough children experience the horrible victimization of sexual abuse) that it cannot be left to parents alone to teach children what to do if they are touched inappropriately.
  • Society has determined (after seeing enough children on the sides of milk cartons and WalMart bulletin boards) that it cannot be left to parents alone to teach children what to do if a stranger attempts to lure them into their car.
  • Society has even determined (well, at least our President did when he was an Illinois State Senator) that kindergartners need to be given sex education.

I simply cannot understand why a society that has decided that parents cannot be trusted to provide the ” proper” education on issues like fire safety, sexual abuse, abduction, and even sexually transmitted diseases, is perfectly comfortable leaving the issue of gun accident prevention up to parents.

Why is deterrence-oriented education deemed appropriate on other dangerous topics, but not when it comes to guns?


Gun safety training, such as that provided by the National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program, educate children on the exact same principles that were employed by this Toledo youth.

Created in 1988 by past NRA President Marion P. Hammer, in consultation with law enforcement officers, elementary school teachers, and child psychologists, the program provides pre-K through the third grade children with simple, effective rules to follow should they encounter a firearm in an unsupervised setting: ” If you see a gun: STOP! Don’t Touch. Leave the Area. Tell an Adult.” The self-explanatory program includes a student workbook, corresponding instructor guide, reward stickers, posters and parent guides.

If your children haven’t been taught what to do if they find a gun, it is your responsibility to teach them.  If your school isn’t teaching the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program, ask the superintendent why not. Anyone can teach the material, and it can be covered in 30 minutes to an hour. Volunteer to do it for them.

School districts wishing to participate in the program should call the National Rifle Association at (800) 231-0752, email a

Schools, law enforcement agencies, civic groups, and others interested in more information about The Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program, or persons who wish to see if free materials are available in their communities, should call the Eddie Eagle Department at (800) 231-0752 or visit

In addition to the steps we can and should all take on our own, it is time for legislators to mandate the program be taught in every school in the state.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman, an NRA-certified firearms instructor and the proud father of two ” Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program” graduates.

Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots political action committee dedicated to defending and advancing the right of Ohio citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities. Visit:

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