“I blew her away.”

Richard Peters €™ cavalier attitude towards the safe handing and storage of firearms caused a tragedy on November 16 in Marysville, Washington, when he shot and killed his six-year-old daughter while cleaning a firearm.

That night, Peters asked his daughter, Stormy, to retrieve a Colt Double Eagle .45-caliber handgun from a nightstand in his bedroom. The accident occurred when Peters removed the magazine from the weapon to prepare it for cleaning and pulled the trigger. Peters, who was apparently unaware that a live round was in the chamber, told detectives responding to the accident, €œI blew her away. € He is being held in lieu of $250,000 bail while under investigation for first-degree manslaughter.

Peters, who is a concealed carry permit holder, told investigators that prior to the fatal shooting he drank up to five double shots of vodka and believed that he would have been too intoxicated to drive a car. He also revealed to investigators that he regularly allowed all three of his children (ages 3, 6 and 8) to handle his firearms, including the .45-caliber handgun with a €œhair trigger € involved in the fatal accident. Child Protective Services took custody of Peters €™ two surviving children and investigators have recovered a €œlarge € number of firearms from his residence.

The fatal shooting wasn €™t Peters €™ only accident involving a firearm. As recently as November 1, he accidentally discharged a shotgun that was handed to him while shooting pumpkins. Thankfully, no one was harmed in that incident.

Peters told deputies responding to the shooting of his daughter that he was “very proficient” with firearms. His pattern of irresponsible behavior, however, demonstrates that nothing could be further from the truth. Peters broke almost every rule in the book related to gun safety. He handled firearms while drinking alcohol. He pulled the trigger on a gun on multiple occasions without inspecting the weapon €™s chamber to make sure it was clear of ammunition. He allowed his children-one as young as three years old-to handle firearms without direct adult supervision. He even violated the cardinal rule of gun safety-ALWAYS KEEP A FIREARM POINTED IN A SAFE DIRECTION.

Rather than being an unpreventable or unexpected tragedy, the death of Peters €™ daughter was foreshadowed by his reckless attitude towards guns.

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