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Police did not identify the man who lost the gun but told CNN his concealed-carry permit has been revoked and information about the case was being forwarded to the district attorney.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

    We need a law that bans criminals from having firearms. That way, no one will need to carry a gun, because the criminals would not have them, they would be banned. That law would save lives. Right?

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

      come on people!! for one there is laws !! and the ones that cant carry one go out and break the law and buy one from under ground.

      December 20, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • New Law Needed

      No way! Criminals dont follow laws? Not even if you pass a ban on guns? That doesnt make sense. That would mean if guns were banned, only the criminals would have guns? That's pretty scary.

      December 20, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dave

    Just another example of the good results from gun safety courses at a young age. The NRA Eddie Eagle program is a wonderful example of just such training.

    December 20, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bill Fitzgerald

    If a sniper would have started shooting in that theatre the night he was there with the gun he would have saved many lives. And you guessed it, same scenario at the elementary school. We need guns to save lives.

    December 20, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. gun totin mama

    he should never have loaded the chamber, that is an accident waiting to happen, nevermind not having the presence of mind to know exactly where your gun is at each and every moment.

    December 20, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. hyde

    Everyone has the right to be a victim if they dont want to own a weapon to protect themself.

    December 20, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. advocatusdiaboil

    These are the kinds of young men you libs will disarm so they cannot protect themselves and others. No concealed carry licensed persons has EVER committed a massacre. You trusted the Sheep Dogs when we were served, you need to trust the Sheep Dogs again. The Israelis are aan armed society and don't have massacres by their own people.

    December 20, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Evelyn Stice

      I'm not sure where this Israel thing comes from (had a lot of family and friends post about it), but actually gun ownership in Israel is much lower than in the US, and restrictions are considerably higher. If you have not served in the military, the minimum age to own a gun is 27; if you have served, it's 21. You must prove you need the gun (for hunting, sport, etc.). You must pass background checks which consider health, mental, and criminal records. You must requalify every three years. Records of who is licensed to own firearms are maintained by the government. Each firearm itself must be registered to the current owner. You are limited as to how much ammunition you can possess. In one respect, they are a bit looser than the US: If you legally own a gun (that is, you meet the above-mentioned requirements), you can carry it in public, concealed or openly.

      December 20, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • J100409

      It has a lower gun ownership rate and tighter regulation, but a much higher prevalence of privately owned military grade weapons. I think that is behind the urge to compare.

      December 20, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • SoWhatWhoCares

      The problem is the gun's owner was irresponsible. He should have reported it to the police and the theater should have looked around more for the weapon. It wasn't like he lost a pair of sunglasses or a cell phone. It's a loaded weapon. You can't just say "oh well, someone is bound to turn it in". What if it hadn't been 2 smart kids who found it? What if it was some sick person who took it home and held onto it and later on used it to hurt someone or more than one person? These gun owners have to be more responsible! Before I leave a public place I do a double check to make sure I have my keys, my wallet, and my phone. Would it be so hard for him to check and make sure his gun was still on him before he left the theater? People just need to be more responsible especially when your stupid error may mean the difference between someone living or dying.

      December 20, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • 21k

      why do the rest of us have to trust you at a bar we are at with a loaded gun? who says you are a balanced person, who will know within a millisecond who the bad guy is in a fight? i guess as long as the innocent victim's family gets to push the fatal chemicals into your body during your execution for shooting their kin, it'll be an eye for an eye. so maybe that's a fair trade.

      December 20, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • xyz

      and, along the same line of argument, this irresponsible idiot is the kind of guy gun "enthusiasts" want to arm?

      December 20, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • SC

      1) These kids are smarter than you are so they don't need to be armed.

      2) In addition to what's mentioned in the comments by others about gun regulations in Israel, you only have 50 rounds of bullets for life if you own a gun.

      3) You dummy!

      December 20, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • HenryMiller

      @21k, "why do the rest of us have to trust you..."

      What reason do you have to distrust us? There are news items about abusive cops–do you trust cops? If so, why, given the evidence that some can't be trusted?

      December 20, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • MAKO10

      "I lost my loaded gun in the theater last night, anyone turn that in?" "Let me check the lost and found, pause....nope no gun sorry man." How does either party leave the conversation at that? Am I missing something in the article? Why wouldn't the theater or the man search and search until they found the gun? Absurd, truly absurd.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
    • JohnS

      @MAKO: The gun had already been found by the students when the owner came looking for it.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
    • miscreantsall

      Ahhhhh……….typical wandering reaching out warped mind of the conservative. It's always a non-sequitor experience with you guys.


      December 21, 2012 at 3:18 am | Report abuse |
    • nomo-repubs

      im a gun owner ,kids died you fool. Try holding a dead child in your arms trying to save his life after being hit by a stay bullet!

      December 21, 2012 at 3:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Davo

      The Israelis are armed because they have an entire region calling for their extermination. Don't try to compare a shooting with a war.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Travis

      Why don't you move to Israel then?

      December 21, 2012 at 5:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. Michael John Anthony

    Can people stop using the term "book-smart"? It's not 1870 any more.

    December 20, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tptlead

    This is why every gun should be registered. The police would quickly know whose gun it was, then the owner's privileges would be revoked. The irresponsible numbskull was only identified as he came back looking for his lost property. If you cannot be responsible with a weapon, your "right" to own one is forfeited.

    December 20, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      Tillamook Police Chief Terry Wright uses the terms "careless" and "reckless." The first is accurate. The second may not be. He needs to investigate a little further.

      December 20, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phil

      Did you read the story? His carry conceal permit was revoked.

      Read the complete article before commenting next time. It will make you look less stupid, but just less.

      December 20, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John Reynolds

    Bravo to two very smart and responsible Boy Scouts. My son and I took the same class and know how they drill into you the safety rules. If people would just follow the safety procedures and be responsible we would have fewer accidents. Also bravo to the police for revokeing this guys permit to connect. I can't believe he did not call the police when he found it missing...and hay how come the firearm was not secured in a holster. Carless people should not be given firearms. Problem is how do you wead them out...make everyone go to training.

    December 20, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Finally, a logical SMART person on cnn comments. Thank you John.

      December 20, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Name*victor sanchez

    Cool kids.

    December 20, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Cat

    Yet another responsible gun owner! Good to hear his permit was revoked.

    December 20, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • HenryMiller

      There are 150 million American gun owners. Exactly one lost his gun, and you're using that to castigate all 150 million of us?

      December 20, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Paranoid gun owner

    Is that where I left it?

    December 20, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. BOMBO

    This doesn't happen just anywhere. Seems to be fairly common in the USA. Do you all still not see a basic problem with having easily available firearms?

    Can anyone hear me? HELLO !!!

    Well, maybe the next massacre will get your attention. But probably not.

    December 21, 2012 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
  14. md43

    obviously he was trying to make the gun go off as someone opened the chair and the gun hit the ground. i mean that is just too much of a coincidence that not only was a gun in the theater chair, but one in the sad are these times

    December 21, 2012 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  15. MAKO10

    What make no sense to me at all is...if a man says "I lost my loaded gun in your theater somewhere, has it been turned in?" Wouldn't the theater staff look and look and look until they found the gun? It sounds like the moron who said nope, no gun in the lost and found did nothing else either cause he's stoned, lazy, or stupid...maybe all three.

    December 21, 2012 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
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