Boys make the right move with loaded gun in theater
Kolton McKinney, left, and Levi Crabtree found a loaded handgun in an Oregon theater.
December 20th, 2012
10:36 AM ET

Boys make the right move with loaded gun in theater

With the horrific news involving guns from Newtown, Connecticut, in the past week, here’s a story with a happy ending and one that illustrates how kids can be more responsible than adults when it comes to weapons.

On Wednesday morning in Tillamook, Oregon, a city of 5,000 near the Pacific Ocean, a group of seventh-grade students were on a field trip to the local Coliseum Theatre to watch "The Hobbit." The outing was a reward for getting good grades.

It turns out these kids were more than book-smart.

When Kolton McKinney pulled his seat down, something fell from it.

“He sat down in his chair and I heard a ‘clunk’ and I looked down and there it was,” Kolton’s classmate, Levi Crabtree, told CNN affiliate KGW in Portland.

The gun the boys found in the theater.

It was a gun, a small-caliber, semi-automatic pistol. It was fully loaded with a round in the chamber, Tillamook Police Chief Terry Wright said.

Levi and Kolton didn’t touch the weapon. They alerted a school staffer who was on the field trip, who then alerted police.

Why didn’t the boys pick up the firearm?

"I'm a Boy Scout and Kolton and me took a hunter safety class. One of the rules is that you treat all guns as if they're loaded," Levi told KPTV.

“Who would do that? Seriously, there’s a bunch of people that go to that theater and they put a gun in there,” Kolton told KGW.

Somebody who’s “careless” and “reckless,” Wright said.

Police told KPTV that a man went to the theater on Wednesday night asking if anyone had found his gun and turned it in to the lost and found. He’d lost it the night before in the theater.

The man, who has a Tillamook County concealed handgun license, never notified police he’d lost the weapon, KPTV reported.

Luckily, the two Tillamook Junior High School students were thinking more clearly.

"Our students reacted exactly like we would hope and that is they recognized that is was a gun, recognized that they needed to stay away and contact a teacher immediately," Tillamook school Superintendent Randy Schild told KPTV. "I hope this is a learning opportunity not only for our students, but any students that see it on TV or anywhere else."

Police did not identify the man who lost the gun but told CNN his concealed-carry permit has been revoked and information about the case was being forwarded to the district attorney.

We forward our compliments to two smart seventh-graders.

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Filed under: Education • Gun violence • Oregon • U.S.
soundoff (614 Responses)
  1. Steve

    People are careless, emotional, sensitive,etc. Basically....Human. I have an ID badge that if I lose I have to alert police. I take that very seriously. A gun you would think you would take even more seriously. FAIL.

    December 21, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Brettg250

    Wait, you mean we are going give credit here to the Boy Scouts?

    December 21, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Andy

    What they didn't emphasize in this story is that the kids had been educated on guns. Treat every gun as if it's loaded. That's a big part of why they did the right thing. Most kids are not educated beyond "Guns are bad."

    December 21, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • bill

      This is America, not Iran, kids shouldn't have to be educated about guns until they choose to at the age of consent. We don't need to educate our kids in ways of whatever goat you worship in your religion. The problem are the guns and that is what the focus should be on and our children should not have to live in fear in America about these crazy right wing idiots carrying guns. You want guns, then keep them in your homes and stop letting all these "legally" purchased assault weapons out into the streets and killing our citizens!

      December 21, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  4. Bob C.

    The gun probably fell out of his pocket by accident. But this guy was supposed to contact the police FIRST, THEN the movie theater right after. The movie theater should have called the police as well. It's sad that the kids were more responsible than the adults here.

    Had the same thing happen at my local preschool last month. Loaded handgun found underneath a table. Luckily a teacher found it first and called the police. The owner never reported it as missing, probably because they would have revoked his license and have his kid kicked out of preschool.

    During this past week, I've heard statements from "responsible" gun owners who insist on their right to keep guns because they are responsible law-abiding citizens. But when gun owners are asked if they've ever been careless or irresponsible with a gun, most admit that they have. So much for being responsible.

    December 21, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. bill

    That "concealed-carry permit" sure worked great in this situation, much like that "legally" purchased AR-15 did in Newton. Oh and what about all those other mass murders carried out with "legally" purchased guns???!! The issues are the guns, and THAT is what we need to be attacking! Unless being utilized for some lawful recreational purpose, homeowner guns should NEVER make their way out into the streets. This is America and this isn't Syria and anyone who wants to carry their gun around for whatever reason needs to move to Iran or Somalia and get the hell out of America!

    December 21, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • IDIOTS

      Ever wonder why tis country is not Iran or Syria?? Its because were armed you morons. I gurantee you those countries would be a lot different if their citizens were allowed our 2nd ammendment rights.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Idiots is right, bill. But you just keep believing the crap you spout.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • getkristan

      Exactly right, Mr Idiots.

      The only reason the USA is not Iran or Syria is because of legal gun ownership.

      As for the reason why the rest of the non-gun-owning democratic nations or the world are not dictatorships... they must have just been lucky.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • EvenSteven

      Dear Bill,

      You have the right to say all the stupid things you want to in this country. And you do say stupid things. But that is your right. I have the right to bear arms. And that right keeps you able to flap your lip all you want. You have the right to be a Sheeple also. Baaaaa, But you should not try to run off the people who keep your right to be an idiot in place. History and facts seem to have passed you by. You go ahead and forgo your own right to defend yourself. But DO NOT try to take my rights away from me.

      December 22, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  6. bill

    The NRA is nothing more than a special interest lobbyist group supported by weapons manufacturers whose only market is the USA since the Russians dominate the European and Middle Eastern markets. All the NRA is doing is protecting the sole economic interest of its corporate membership and right wing radical extremists. The gun issue has absolutely nothing to do with Americans, the 2nd Amendment or any rights. Tells you all you need to know when a safer America would be bad business for the NRA.

    December 21, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • EvenSteven

      Bill, Bill, Bill.....

      FYI, there are 4.5 Million NRA members, there are 13.8 million hunters in the US. Concealed Firearms permits in the US are over 6 million. (Incidentally, violent crimes have come down steadily as gun carry numbers came up. Coincidence?) I am a moderate mostly Democratic voter. And you Sir are precisely the kind of person who makes the NRA needed. And are precisely why so many Right Wing Extremists are extreme. Because of EXTREMISTS LIKE YOU. I live in the country. It takes the police 30 minutes to respond to my house. I routinely have to travel to what would be described as to "Bad Neighborhoods" as part of my job delivering orders. My predecessor in this job was robbed twice. And beaten so badly on the second robbery that he has still not recovered, a year later. So sorry pal but, I will keep my little .357 pistol in my pocket. I hope never to have to use it. But will happily to avoid winding up like my predecessor. This sheep will not be shorn by some criminal.

      So have a nice life saying silly things.

      December 22, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  7. Trevelyn

    iI know he mad a mistake. Send him for retraining. Give him a second chance. See what gun training realy can do. That kid was trained young. his scout leader did a good job.

    December 22, 2012 at 12:23 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. ag

    Of course the gun owner made a mistake, as we all do sometimes. I'm not willing to crucify the guy for making a mistake.

    The problem is, mistakes can, do, and will always happen. We can't blindly assume that even all responsible gun owners will act responsibly and perfectly at all times. This is not a "retraining" issue. Do you think this guy, if he gets his gun back, will EVER get up from his seat again without checking for it? Of course not. No need for him to sit in a class for 3 hours to hear about it. I guarantee, he learned his lesson. It's just lucky that two intelligent tweens found this weapon, instead of a couple of 6 year olds. Or a nut.

    Accidents will always happen, but accidents can result in the gun falling into the wrong hands. That's why we don't need high-capacity magazines floating around. Accidents are worse when those are involved.

    December 22, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • J Johnson

      Really AG? The guy went nearly 18 hour before noticing he "misplaced" his gun, then never contacted the police. HOW DID SOMEONE WHO THINKS THAT IS ACCEPTABLE get a carry permit? With rights come responsibility.

      December 22, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jodie

      As a Canadian, I am speechless that a loaded gun could even be in a theater. How tragic this mistake could have been if a young child was crawling around curious, picking up objects of interest off the seat or floor as children normally do. Another disaster, another dead child. Another sad day for our dear American neighbors. Please, please consider gun control.

      December 22, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • innit2winit

      What does being a Canadian have to do with anything?

      December 23, 2012 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      I don't think the guy learned his lesson at all. I responsible person would have considered the possibility the even younger children may have picked up the gun and accidentally killed themselves. If he realized what he did was so wrong he would have called the police and reported the gun lost. CLEARLY this man lacks the responsibility needed to have a concealed weapons permit. I'm glad his permit was revoked. I wish there was a more serious consequence for his recklessness.

      December 23, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Dr. Ron

      To Jodie...

      In any theater, I, nor any fellow American I know would ever let their kids crawl around on a movie theater floor.

      Also, it is the knowledge of the government that its Citizens are armed. Believe it or not, that is why we have had the same government in place since 1776. Canada finally broke its ties with England, when?

      The internet allows you to cross international borders without a passport. You can post and say what you want and espouse your views. You can also do your research and learn that the internet was an American Military invention.

      So, use our technology and research the gun laws of your own country, then come back and comment some more. I eagerly await your return...

      December 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luis

      Not a reason to revoke his license. But for 18hrs to have passed? He deserves a warning.

      December 24, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Janice

      another law abiding gun owner who puts his selfish pursuit of a dangerous hobby above the satey of our children.

      December 24, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Dr. Ron,
      So by your logic, Americans shouldn't have guns because gunpowder was invented by the Chinese...

      December 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      OK fine anyone can make a mistake. This moron did not report the loss to the Police Department. Are you still willing to give this guy a pass?

      December 25, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • BigBill

      Carrying lethal weapons into a public space is a terrible responsiblity. Clearly, the gun owner is sloppy and careless. He should be given the maximum sentence possible. If it were up to me, he should spend a year in jail.

      December 25, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Curious

    We should never make an important decision, while wipped up in a state of fear, panic and hysteria. shame on the us government for trying to stoke the flames of hysteria, over could be isolated incidents- in order to pass laws that enhane they're political objectives. shame shame shame. where are the statistics that show that these crimes increasing in, frequency and intensity, based on a per capita basis? if it's true, why isnt the governent showing us this to support they're case- and only using scare tactics and propaganda?

    December 22, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kathy

      Here's why the government doesn't show us the statistics you want - the NRA has prevented the government from doing so. Listen to the recent radio interview of Tom Diaz, by Terry Grosson on Fresh Air. Listen to the whole thing. The NRA has attached restrictions to funding bills to prevent the collection and release of data. Since the NRA loses every argument involving data, they attempt to erase the data. They sell fear. It's time to get semi-automatic weapons off the market and to protect our children and our police officers.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kura

      @ kathy Nice conspiracy theory there. However, let's turn to the FBI for that data. sound fair? According to them, homicides perpetrated by guns have gone down pretty much every year. 2010 had ~13,000 gun related deaths, excluding suicides. How about more data? From the Department of Justice? They estimate guns are used defensively 1.5 million, yes million times per year. Some Criminologists believe the number is 2.5 million.

      So what exactly do you mean they lose the 'data battle'? Actually, since the Supreme Court of the United States has struck down a double handful of gun bans and many restrictions, it's the anti-gun lobby that loses the battle. They have lost in D.C, New York, and many other places. A Colorado Circuit court held that guns can be taken onto college campuses. So really, the side opposed is not just losing, but has resoundingly lost to the second amendment.

      December 22, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Kura,

      You're wrong about those defensive stats. No valid researcher believes that high of a figure of defensive gun uses – in fact, those figures have been disproven over and over again. You can't throw out "some criminologists believe 2.5 million" without being called on it. That figure especially is an obvious overestimation for anyone who knows anything about the research it's based on. Even PRO-GUN researchers know those figures are wrong.

      Also, the NRA has lobbied politicians successfully about all sorts of things, including data reporting and research. It's not a conspiracy – it's actually a fact even the NRA admits! LOL.

      And actually, gun control people have had quite a bit of success. There are numerous states and localities banning certain types of guns. Hell, even the U.S. as a whole banned automatic weapons for 10 years before politicians, influenced by the NRA, never let an extension of the law come up for a vote.

      Anyone else sick of misinformation from the gun people?

      December 22, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marcus

      @Andrew, where are your sources to support what you're claiming. Kura put up credible sources that can be verified......

      December 24, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Concerned

      Come on out from under your cozy little rock and read/watch the news occasionally. The country isn't in a state of panic or fear. The govenment hasn't wipped (sic) anyone into a frenzy. If anyone is fear mongering it's you. No decisions have been made to restrict or ban weapons nor have your 2nd ammendment rights been treaded on. The country is in a state of mourning and our president has asked for answers on how to prevent this most recent mass shooting event from happening again. It's true, he does support restrictions on some types of guns, but nothing has changed from the current status quo. Why ask others to do your research? Take a deep breath, do a google search on mass shootings in the US in the last few years and you will find your own statistics. Apparently you are going to be shocked at how many events like the Sandy Hook spree have occured. Come on back and respond if you still feel inclined.

      December 24, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      You raise an excellent point. Can we please get all the facts on Sandy Hook before we start making recommendations about what steps might need to be taken next? This is a classic case of people jumping to conclusions before we even know what exactly happened. The truth is we don't even know if Lanza even used an assault rifle or simply used common hand guns. He chose the weakest and most vulnerable among us to attack. He would have had ample time to reload, even a six-shooter.

      December 25, 2012 at 3:43 am | Report abuse |
    • sonils

      Lets talk statistics when your child is among the lives lost.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Curtis H. Fuller

    I hope the DA throws the book at him. Negligence, endangering minors, etc. Prime example of why concealed weapons decrease public safety. If the gun had discharged when it hit the ground, this would be another tragedy.

    December 22, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jodie

      You are absolutely right. Well put. You are

      December 22, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • CuriousG

      If that were me, I would gladly surrender my license and agree to never owning a gun again. I would also go home and prayer and give thanks that I was not responsible for a death of a child or adult.

      December 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Victoria

    A loaded gun with one in the chamber left tucked in a seat at the theater and left behind by its owner who fails to report it to law enforcement as missing is a case of extreme negligence. This negligence could have resulted in a tragedy. Thankfully, those two alert students knew how to handle the situation; and a tragedy was averted....THIS TIME. The gun owner further demonstrated even greater negligence by failing to to return to his theater seat to conduct a personal search for the weapon. His actions, and lack thereof, call for the revoking of his permit to carry a concealed weapon, period. I sincerely hope that theaters take into consideration, the checking of all seats between movie showings. Their staff can check the seats when they are gathering up the empty pop corn boxes and drink cups left by patrons. There will be another loaded gun left in a theater again, and next time, it could wind up being found by a younger child who may think it is a toy, and winds up killing themselves or another person. BTW, I am a gun owner and a bail bond agent. I have a CWP, but my gun is holstered when I am carrying , not carelessly left lying around.

    December 23, 2012 at 7:03 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. revelance2itall

    This was not a high capacity assault rifle. By the way, all the terrorist already have these weapons. Restricting them from law abiding citizens who want to protect their family and home does not stop already armed terrorist.

    December 23, 2012 at 8:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • jr

      This is a load of NRA crafted BULL

      December 24, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Raptor69

      @jr This is the truth not NRA BULL, how about the 15,000 alcohol releated deaths, those are OK should we ban Alcohol??? when are you anti-gun nuts going to learn there are alot of people carrying guns that are decsent people anr it our right to own guns. just like people that go out and get drunk and then drive home. But hey that ok!!!!

      December 24, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. kbwizard

    The young people did very well. It even sounds like they had NRA (Eddie Eagle) training. This is the type of training available to young people by the NRA Sorry I know that makes some people mad. But it's the type of training I give my child and the same you should give yours regardless on how you feel about guns.

    December 23, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. kbwizard

    Well done. Sounds like they had taken the Eddie Eagle course offered by the NRA. I recommend it regardless of where you come down on the issue

    December 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. notayankee

    The evil NRA has a very good program, Eddie Eagle, which teaches children just that. If you see a firearm. "don't touch, call an adult, get away." Too bad most schools are afraid to offer programs like this, which could actually make a difference.

    December 24, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse | Reply
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