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Police did not identify the man who lost the gun but told CNN his concealed-carry permit has been revoked and information about the case was being forwarded to the district attorney.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

    Nice for some positive reporting on kids. Thank you Brad Lendon, was nice to read a good story on children! 😉

    December 20, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Jimmyjam048

      These boys arE heroes!
      Just imagine if this gun had fallen I to the hands of less responsible children or a criminal or a mentally unstable person like James Holmes or George Zimmerman?

      December 29, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ROJO2

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

    Being a Canadian I have a hard time understanding the need for someone to carry a loaded pistol with them. This is just an accident waiting to happen. I have been listening to the talk about how people feel that they have to be able to defend themselves...well I am glad I live in a country where that need is not felt here.

    December 20, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Patrish

      Lucky you! I live in Florida where we have the 'stand your ground' law. So far it has proven deadly to several victims who were not doing anything criminal, plus we have one of the highest 'concealed weapons' license holders in the states.

      December 20, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • huehuehue

      you must not be a real canadian that has to deal with bears and mooses.

      December 20, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • doubledees

      Owner was licensed to carry????? What a MORON to leave it loaded in the theater.......he dont deserve to carry anything but his stupidity.........

      December 20, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Zeke22

      It's insanity. We need to buy bigger guns to protect ourselves from lunatics who acquire bigger guns, and as a result, we buy bigger guns, and on and on... For such a technologically advanced country, in many other ways we're also in a mind set of the mid evil times..

      December 20, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmyjam048

      I live in Florida and it is way too easy for mentally unstable people to legally acquire firearms.
      We have had shootings all year. Not from just the gang bangers but from mentally unstable people who shot and killed people for reasons ranging from playing music too loud to carrying a bag of candy.

      December 29, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. oncampusandonline

    Bet the two boys could spell "reckless"...maybe they should be hired as CNN editors.

    December 20, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  4. Realityblowz

    It isn't a set of keys that you lost there ya knob. You should have notified the police, and the theatre. You should have had a better holster, and always know where the gun is. Now I wouldn't trust you with a rubber band pistol.

    December 20, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      It would be good to see the yutz that left it there charged with some meaningful crime, like reckless endangerment.

      December 20, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  5. David


    Have we really sunk so low in our expectations of people that we applaud children for not picking up a firearm and shooting themselves or their friends with it? I mean, a gun near a child does not equal automatic child death.

    December 20, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • fiveliters

      Well David,here in PA in this past month,we had a guy kill his own son by accidentally discharging his firearm while getting into his pickup truck. In the parking lot of a gun store,no less. So if an adult that -should- know better manages to do that,then yes,I have no problem commending these kids for not picking up the firearm and possibly repeating that scenario with their classmates.

      December 20, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Scuromondo

      Pretty basic behavioral reinforcement: reward good behavior, punish bad behavior. ...Unless you're like my previous boss who had plenty of sticks, but could never manage to find a single carrot.

      December 20, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • drees

      He is a a real Canadian like me. we don't need to carry weapons around. when we go moose or deer hunting then we carry our shot gun. we don't carry anything too crazy then the fun of hunting has been been replaced with the thirst to kill something. not to say we dont like shooting but thats why we go rent guns at the shooting range

      December 20, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      I completely agree with you, David. And we get it, Canadians don't need to carry guns. Canadians also don't have the media and the government constantly covering issues they know have a 2 sided argument. Now this may be for the purpose of creating interesting news, but it's really just giving Americans another reason to see their fellow man with an "us vs. them" mentality. We are divided on so many issues that don't even define who we are as people. It's sickening.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • God

      We've sunk low in our expectations of people because people in general are becoming more stupid and helpless with each generation. Of course, only our government overlords are the people capable of handling guns responsibly, right?

      December 20, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. kevivoe

    Every citizen should be required to take firearm safety training.

    December 20, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mike

    This is an example of why the Texas law being pushed for teachers to have concealed weapons is a really REALLY dumb idea. Not all kids will be as responsible as these two young men.

    December 20, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  8. MD

    This further proves why we need better gun laws in our country. This concealed carry holder should be charged for failing to notify the police about loosing his firearm. There should have been a search for this weapon in every seat if necessary.

    December 20, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  9. RAWoD

    What a jerk this "owner" is. A LOADED handgun with one in the chambers "lost" and not IMMEDIATELY reported? Take his permit away and NEVER give him another.

    December 20, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Franklor

      I agree. Serious weapons require serious laws and serious penalties if the laws are broken. While I believe in the 2nd amendment in principle, I also believe we can create a "Smarter 2nd Amendment" and that time is right now or sooner.
      The NRA should be at the forefront of of tightening up these laws, not hiding from the truth.
      Make them hard to get (and downright impossible for some models like assault weapons), and zero tolerance when mishandled.
      Break a gun law – lose your privilege... period!

      December 20, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jan Balcom

    The fact that the gun's owner had the required permit for having that weapon in the theater in the first place is indicative to me that those permits should be more carefully regulated, with perhaps a required test every few years to make sure folks carrying concealed guns still know their responsibilities and how to properly handle the very powerful and potentially dangerous tool they choose to keep on their persons.

    December 20, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • FoolKiller

      Not to offer excuses for the idiot, but no system is foolproof (I wish they could be).
      That being said, this is the FIRST time I have ever heard of this happening,
      and there have been lots of people carrying, for years.
      Of course, if you know of others I missed, feel free to provide links...
      Any isolated incident, no matter how stupid and preventable,
      is still the exception and not the rule.

      December 20, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • harriet

      @foolkiller who said "if you know of others I missed, feel free to provide links..."

      Just for yuks I googled "man leaves gun in restaurant" and the number of stories that instantly came up was enormous:

      Here is the first (from the Denver Times)

      Man brings gun to restaurant, leaves it in women’s restroom. On Sept. 5, a Parker Police officer responded to a report of a theft at Pho Vy restaurant, 18366 Lincoln Ave. A man said he had an urgent need to use the restroom, but the men’s restroom was occupied so he used the women’s. He left his Glock 27 pistol in the restroom. When he went back to retrieve it, the gun was gone. The total value of the gun is $1,055.

      (I tried theater, but when you do that, you just get zillions of Aurora stories)

      December 20, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • roggy65

      Unfortunately you can't ban, regulate or restrict being stupid.

      January 7, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. buzz

    Yep, all concealed carry permit holders are most responsible gun owners. Good job scouts.

    December 20, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  12. Calidip

    This is going to be more common. People dropping a deuce in the bathroom will pull out their pistol and set it somewhere, then forget about it. It happened at a Chuck E. Cheese. Kids found a gun and alerted adults. The person who left it in the bathroom stall, a COP.

    December 20, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  13. chrissy

    @ David, i bet you have no problem punishing kids when they do something you feel is wrong do you? So when they do something right they SHOULD be commended!

    December 20, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      Of course they should be family and friends. The only reason this even made the news was bc of Connecticut. Do we write a news story everytime a kid uses what should be common sense? Of course it isn't considered common sense, because parents don't talk to their kids about guns...which I still don't understand. That should be one of the first dangers they learn about.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. BLKvotingAmerican

    SAD, guns are so easly accessable in America you find them like finding a penny on floor..........................EVER WHERE!

    December 20, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Burns topee

      How many guns have you found BLK?

      December 20, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Honorable Veteran

      So true because just today I walked down the street and saw a shiny 1911 on the ground. You're an idiot. Now if you refer to Europe, you can dig in your backyard and probably find some weaposn left over from the World Wars.

      December 20, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Smart Guy

    To "HueHueHue" – Yeah, because those moose sure are dangerous, aren't they?

    December 20, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
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