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Police did not identify the man who lost the gun but told CNN his concealed-carry permit has been revoked and information about the case was being forwarded to the district attorney.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

    For now at least forget about banning guns. But let's finally get serious about requiring training and screening. And lets make sure a big part of training is how to keep the gun out of the wrong hands. If not directly on your person a gun should be in a safe/case that cannot be pried open with tools nor with a key they take while you're showering. Anyone found viloating this storage safety with children in the house wil be penalized in some manner. Also the little ID card you get that says you're a certified gun owner will let you buy ammo. Yes criminals will still get guns but think about many of the killings lately that were not by "criminals" in the standard sense but by folks that reached some boiling point and happened to have access or some child that got a gun from their parents. This won't solve everything but will help a lot and not prevent most from owning a gun. Plus with that training they can be more effective in the VERY RARE event they actually need the gun for self defense.

    December 20, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. lunacy in the gop

    Finally some good news!!!!

    December 20, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Frank

    I would think that if someone reported losing their loaded gun in a theater the management would make a concerted effort to search that theater. Maybe that makes too much sense.

    December 20, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MoBlu

    I wish you bleeding hearts could truly hear yourselves and the comments you make. What happened in Connecticut was horrible. The man was a coward. He chose to kill those kids because they wouldn't fight back. He wanted to be recognized and now he is...as a murderous coward. Just like in anyone's home, if he had known that there were guns waiting for him, he wouldn't have gone. Why didn't he attack the police station? Guns aren't the problem...psychosis is.

    December 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • peridot2

      He was MENTALLY ILL!

      December 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnC

      The problem was that someone in his mental state merely had to take some guns from home. It's far from guaranteed that if there were no guns handy at home he would have broken in somewhere and stole some (not likely his 'thing') but instead he may have found a less damaging way to vent. The real problem was these guns were not secured in a solid safe. So guns aren't the problem here but poor training and lack of enforcement of poor storage methods.

      December 20, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Opinon

    hey whats it worth to carry around a gun and not have it loaded?

    December 20, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jason

    The guy who had the concealed weapon was just prepared to defend himself and the other theater patrons in case of a shooter. It's sad that it dropped out of it's holster.

    December 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • denouemen

      He's clearly too stupid to protect anyone and would have been more likely have shot himself

      December 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jean Sartre

      It was so intelligent of this guy, with a CC permit, to NOT report his gun as missing!

      He should be given a pillow in a holster!

      December 20, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      This guy should lose his carry permit forever. He was careless, he didn't report it to the authorities, and he could have caused yet another tragedy that would have killed children and also further raised public ire against ordinary, law abiding sportsmen. If you have a carry permit, you have a responsibility to society to be more than normally careful about what you do and how you protect your gun.

      December 20, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • tom

      He was so prepared to protect everybody that he never noticed his gun was not there...That's the kind of protection that I want around. Yead right.

      December 20, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • abqTim

      "was just prepared to defend himself and the other theater patrons " but instead put children at risk by carelessly losing control of his gun...a gun with a chambered round!!!! Should mean legal action against this man. It's kind of like driving with a buzz, sooner or later someone is going to get hurt or killed. This guy is totally irresponsible.

      December 20, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      I agree that he should loose his permit, he was totally irresponsible allowing it to be unsecured to begin with. I support the right to carry, but it is a SERIOUS responsibility. These are weapons, not toys. I also believe that the authorities need to look at the theater management for taking this serious inquiry about a lost weapon as casually as they did. I also believe that voting is a serious RESPONSIBILITY, not to be taken so casually as to go with the cult of personality.

      December 20, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • modette

      The comments are just funny. If the other patron had a coat and took it off and laid it on the seat and then when they went to leave picked it up and the gun fell out without them knowing they might be looking in their vehicle, home and or just left the theater and might of been in route to go and ask. I don't see the big deal is, kids did right not to touch and they reported it. But its not a shocker someone had a weapon with a round in the chamber to be ready to protect themselves....LOL I have that RIGHT.

      December 20, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Loreeeee

      The guy is obviously irresponsible. Not only does he NOT report the loss, he left it with a bullet in the chamber. Peas for brains.

      December 20, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • TonDef

      Sad? This isn't sad. It's reprehensible! How do you know this knuckle dragging troglodyte even had a holster? How do you claim to know his intentions for bringing that gun into the theater? I'll tell you what's sad: the fact that anyone would defend an irresponsible act of this magnitude. I'm so thankful that those seventh graders were smarter and more responsible than the gun owner, and that no one was hurt or killed.

      December 20, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • lou50

      and he had a round chambered for what reason? He was to stupid to own a gun much less carry it in public or in in his own home. Put him in jail as a lesson.

      December 20, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • webspy

      Sad he didn't go back to were he was sitting that's real hard, sad he didn't advise the police that's real hard, sad he's not a deep thinker with a gun, Wow

      December 20, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • fandancy

      We shouldn't have to think about defending ourselves in movies, schools, or anywhere in public but unfortunately those days are gone. Our country is awash with guns.

      December 20, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ZG

    How do we know these two didn't bring the firearm with them and when it accidentally dropped decided to blame it on the guy who took the blame for them? I don't like the look of that Crabtree fellow.

    December 20, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • lordblackmoon

      What a stupid comment. You can know that's not true if you read other news sources, where the gun owner looking for the lost and found gun admitted that was his gun.

      December 20, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank Design

      You are so full of it. By your ignorant and empty comment, I can realize you are just another "responsible gun owner". No more guns! Period.

      December 20, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      You make Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr look smart. Bravo.

      December 20, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Silliest comment I've read yet....and that's saying something.
      Bravo.

      December 20, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sane Person

      If you read more than the first 3 words, You'd see the owner came back looking for it. Way to read, smart guy.

      December 20, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • bob

      read the post !! the man went to the movie theater and told them he lost it!! duh

      December 20, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Crystal

      I think the joke is inferred when he stated "...I don't like the look of that Crabtree fellow"

      December 20, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • JC

      Did you READ the story?

      The police found the person who owned the gun, because he came back to the theater LOOKING FOR IT, hours after the boys found it. How could he be looking for something he didn't own? And if they had stolen it, what would make him decide to go to some random theater looking for it?

      December 20, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dale

    You all might consider another scenario. The gun owner might have gone into the theater to shoot and kill with the gun but got cold feet (so to say).

    December 20, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • armedlutheran

      Except the story says he had a concealed carry permit, and permit holders don't commit mass murder. They are statistically much safer than the general public. The guy was careless and should lose his permit.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  9. cdean

    Technology is always the answer. All they need to do is make it mandatory for all firing arms to send a wifi signal to authorities when a shot is fired. This can allow authorities to get to the crime scene as quickly as possible and to survey the area with street cameras.

    December 20, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • lordblackmoon

      That's taking it a bit far. What's next, implanting GPS locators in each person? No, I'm not willing to go down that road.

      December 20, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. nancheska

    Good job, guys! You're more responsible than many adults, frankly.

    December 20, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ed

    Revoke his carry permit permanently.

    December 20, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • lordblackmoon

      The permit was immediately revoked. The police chief said the permit can be revoked in certain cases, and this is considered endangerment, which is one of those cases. He said he would revoke it immediately.

      December 20, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • bob

      they did!! for good!

      December 20, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. HotRod 1775

    Someone prob took for personal safety and it fell out of their pocket or holster. Not defending it, its a bad move but a very isolated incident. Should not be mentioned in the same sentence as gun law reform

    December 20, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MannyHM

    Carrying a gun can be inconvenient. The holster and the gun can rub on the waist or other parts of the body. Most probably this guy pull it out, set it aside, and forgot about it. Solution ? Use an elastic lanyard ! This is like the chain in a truck driver's wallet. It may fall out but it's recovered. Get the picture ?
    Gun safety should be mandatory in schools. This news article proves the value of gun safety class in Boy Scout.

    December 20, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • chesterbaloneyjr

      the elastic should go around the trigger then when it falls out it goes off, alerting you to the fact you almost LEFT IT IN A PUBLIC MOVIE THEATER WITH A ROUND IN THE CHAMBER. Winner.

      December 20, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. k

    These 2 boys probably saved a life. If they hadn't found this gun who knows who would have and anything could happen.
    Great job guys!

    December 20, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. spoo

    "fully loaded and a round in the chamber" ......obviously this guy was up for not good and had to run leaving the gun behind

    December 20, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
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