Webster County sheriff says after tragic incident, gun safety is always top of mind

Updated: Mar. 11, 2023 at 8:54 PM CST
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WEBSTER COUNTY, Mo. (KY3) - Authorities are trying to bring awareness out of a tragedy.

In early March, a teenager died in a negligent shooting in Rogersville. Deputies arrested Tyler Tennis, 23. He has been charged with first-degree involuntary manslaughter, unlawful use of a weapon while intoxicated, and armed criminal action.

Sheriff Roye Cole said recklessness is what happened in this case. Investigators say Tennis said he was drinking before the incident.

”Alcohol and firearms, they don’t go together,” said Sheriff Cole.

Webster County Sheriff Roye Cole said there are cardinal rules for gun safety.

“Treat all firearms as if they’re loaded at all times, keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot, keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction, and know what your target is and your surroundings,” said Sheriff Cole.

CDC statistics from 2020 show Missouri is the fourth-highest state for firearms deaths. Sheriff Cole said firearms classes are important, so you know what you’re dealing witOftenimes, people take their hunter safety courses, and they don’t refresh on that type of thing,” said Sheriff Cole. “There’s a lot to gun safety. It is pretty important.”

He said concealed carry courses are very common and go over every safety-wise. He said the fundamentals are identical for handguns, rifles, shotguns, and other weapons. Sheriff Cole said always keep guns away from kids.

“It’s very clear and obvious kids are gonna play with anything they get their hands on,” said Sheriff Cole. “You need to make sure you have it in a safe place.”

He said he had seen several incidents with kids messing with guns. Sheriff Cole wants parents not to let their guns be a mystery to kids.

“If you put a gun up on a shelf and tell a kid not to touch it, that’s exactly what’s going to happen,” said Sheriff Cole.

Sheriff Cole said to explain what they are if they aren’t locked, so kids don’t get imaginative.

“If you don’t do that, and you don’t lock up your weapon, then I think the imagination of a kid’s gonna get them in trouble,” said Sheriff Cole. “We have the basic safety rules that everybody should know.”

Sheriff Cole said in the incident in Rogersville, these were young adults that knew firearm safety and had been trained. He said alcohol was involved.

Regardless, Sheriff Cole said never to mess around with guns loaded or unloaded.

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