The Florida mother and gun-rights advocate who was accidentally shot by her 4-year-old son while driving earlier this month could be charged with a misdemeanor, the Putnam County Sheriff said Tuesday.
Capt. Gator DeLoach revealed the details of the department's investigation at a press conference yesterday, including how the toddler ended up with a loaded handgun while his mother, Jamie Gilt, drove the truck:
The investigation revealed that Jamie placed the gun, which was not in a holster, under the front seat of the truck. Sometime during her drive the gun apparently slid back to the rear floorboard, below where her four year old son was seated in a booster seat. According to family members, the child recently learned to unbuckle his seatbelt. Investigators discovered the child removed himself from the seat, presumably to grab a toy from the floorboard, saw the gun, picked it up and accidentally fired through the rear of the driver seat, striking Jamie. The bullet struck her in the back and exited through her chest.
Gilt was transferred to a local hospital and later released; her son wasn't harmed, though he has been sent to live with relatives while Florida's child welfare agency investigates, Reuters reports.
Authorities say Gilt legally owned the firearm, identified as a Springfield XD Compact. It was not in a holster at the time of the shooting, and there was no trigger lock on the gun.
The 31-year-old mother could be charged with unsafe storage of a firearm, which is a misdemeanor in the state, carrying a penalty of up to 180 days in jail.
A Facebook page that appeared to be associated with Gilt featured numerous pro-gun messages posted before the shooting.
"Even my 4 year old gets jacked up to target shoot with the .22," read one post. Another post, spotted by the Associated Press, read, "My right to protect my child with my gun trumps your fear of my gun."
The Facebook page has since been taken offline.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story cited authorities as saying the gun's safety was not on. Rather, they noted the weapon did not have a trigger lock installed.