Law/Justice

The political risk in prosecuting an alleged school shooter’s parents

By Samuel Goldman The Week

Who’s responsible when a minor kills? For legal purposes, the greatest burden falls on the accused. There are situations, though, where parents may be liable to prosecution. In many states, that includes cases where parents provide guns to children or don’t take steps to keep them out of unsupervised hands.

Michigan isn’t one of the jurisdictions with child gun access protection laws, though. That makes surprising Friday’s announcement of charges against James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of accused school shooter Ethan Crumbley. According to prosecutors, the Crumbleys not only gave their son the pistol he allegedly used in last week’s shooting at Oxford High School as a Christmas present, but also ignored a written note indicating he was planning a massacre. If convicted, they face up to 15 years in prison for four counts of involuntary manslaughter. (As of this writing, authorities are searching for the Crumbleys, who disappeared, then said through their attorneys they did not flee.)

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