11-year old Chris Gaither was just hanging around at home with his dogs, when he heard a strange noise coming from upstairs.
The quick thinking boy grabbed a knife and went to investigate, only to see an armed intruder coming down the stairs.
According to the boy, the man pointed a gun and threatened to kill him after seeing the knife, so he backed off, but unfazed, the boy grabbed a .9mm handgun himself and confronted the intruder again, this time threatening to shoot if he didn’t leave.
Seemingly unconcerned about the boy’s threat, the man wandered around the house, filling a hamper with various goods. When he finally walked out the door, the boy aimed the pistol and started firing. He shot 12 bullets before the intruder made it to the edge of the yard, with the final bullet piercing his leg as he tried to climb the fence. The boy is reported to have made the man ‘cry like a baby’.
The hapless burglar was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Despite intentionally wounding the man, the boy will not face criminal charges. Alabama law allows a home owner to not only ‘stand their ground’, but use deadly force against a home invader.
The boy has attained hero status amongst many of his friends and neighbours.
Reigniting the Gun Debate
The story has once again put America’s gun laws into the spotlight, with many concerned about how easily an 11-year old boy could access a deadly weapon.
In America, the Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms. Sadly, the nation also has very high rates of gun crime. In 2015 alone, more than 13,000 people – over 35 per day – were killed in the US by firearms (including suicides) and almost 27,000 were injured.
- 13 toddlers killed themselves with guns,
- 18 small children injured themselves,
- 10 injured other people, and
- Two killed other people.
President Obama is keen to tighten gun control laws, but with the vocal and powerful pro-gun lobby against greater regulation – and so many Americans jealously protecting their Second Amendment right – he faces an uphill battle.