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Police did not identify the man who lost the gun but told CNN his concealed-carry permit has been revoked and information about the case was being forwarded to the district attorney.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

    When you have a concealed carry license, you are required to know where your gun is on your person at ALL times and keep it in a secure manner. If this dude carries his gun so often in a routine like manner, that he can't even feel it or be aware of it slipping from his clothing, he should not have a license to carry it.

    It is a responsibility and he was completely irresponsible. Its like a teenager that loses their phone, just too immature to be carrying one around.

    December 24, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      I couldn't agree more John. Well put!

      December 25, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. boise

    Coulda, woulda, shoulda. He learned his lesson. There is no need to punish a human for being human. Most likely he was looking everywhere for it, praying he had left it home or in the car. We are lucky everyone came out of this mistake not harmed. He made an honest attempt to look for it. The first thing he should have done, however, is notify police that it was missing.

    December 24, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • sc3458

      Punish him for being stupid. Take away his permit.

      December 25, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ERIN

    Great Job Boys! I thinik its awesome they were responsible and didnt try to check it out or play with it. You guys did the right thing thanks for setting an example!

    December 25, 2012 at 5:47 am | Report abuse |
    • mlg4035

      Agreed. They deserve a WEEK of free movies for their level-headedness and responsible thinking!!

      December 26, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. hmm

    Seems like a better strategy would be to control the weapon before running away and notifying an authority. What if the owner, or another child, were to come and pick it up before the adult got there?

    December 25, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      hmmm, Did you even read the article? The students who discovere\d the gun immediately notified the person who broght the group to the theatre and that adult notiied someone from the theatre stakk who then called the police. I'm sure that the gun was not touched until the police arrived!!

      December 25, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      In the Eddie the Eagle course, kids are instructed to absolutely not touch any gun. I'd rather a gun stay dormant on the floor than some kid who didn't know how to operate it pick it up and try and "control" it. Get yourself a toy gun. See how long you can hold it without your finger curling over the trigger. You'd be amazed how eas that is, and how much attention you have to pay to prevent that.

      December 26, 2012 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
    • hmm

      Leave the gun dormant on the ground so that absolutely anybody can come and pick it up? I don't see how that's responsible or anything worth celebrating.

      And yes "Bob" I am aware that no one picked up the gun until the police arrived who knows how many minutes later, but they *could* have. Do you assume that everyone you disagree with "didn't read the article"? What an unoriginal, tired response.

      "James," if the Eddie the Eagle courses are going to take the time to teach kids not to touch guns, why don't they use that time to teach them how they work and how to safely carry them? You know, useful information.

      January 8, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mike C

    Do people realize that these assault rifles are basically no different than a beginners .22 rifle? They just make them look like a military style gun that you can put a laser sight, and Change the caliber of the bullet slightly. I'm an avid hunter and love guns, but I don't see the appeal. And to people wanting to ban semi autos, the vast majority of handguns and rifles are semi auto. 99.99% are used responsibly.

    December 25, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • mlg4035

      99.99% are used responsibly....Sure, and your source of that obviously *unbiased* data is...?? LOL!

      December 26, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Robert

    God Bless these smart kids!!!!

    December 25, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. lee

    it is stupid arming mor0n civilians

    December 25, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. fineart

    We don't need guns in this country, especially in schools, movie theaters, ice cream parlors, political gatherings, sporting events and any other gatherings of freedom loving Americans.

    December 26, 2012 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      We do not need war, violence or famine. Grow up will you.

      December 26, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • SilentPro21

      "political gatherings" So their security will be fine with checking their weapons at the door right?

      December 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. LilRdVet2

    This is all pretty simple. Gun owners should be required to carry liability insurance that same way we have to carry liability insurance on our vehicles. Both are potentially deadly weapons, vulnerable to theft and misuse, so why not require insurance? If you want to own a gun, then you should be a responsible gun owner and have to carry liability insurance for your weapons and ammo.

    December 26, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
    • mlg4035

      THAT is a GREAT point! License, proof of registration, and insurance...just like owning a car...

      December 26, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • vincent

      a good idea. compliments to your thinking:)

      December 27, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
    • JBBW

      That makes a lot of sense. Thanks for posting it.

      December 27, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drahcir

      Thats a great idea. Not extreme at all, completely practical and responsible.

      December 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • GrandOldPatsy

      I suppose we should place that requirement on the amendment that protects free speech as well, you never know how liable you'll be when you lie about something.

      December 27, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • dan

      The insurance Idea would be great but most insurance will not pay out if it is used for a crime. When a vehicle is stolen and crimes are commited with it do you think the owner of the car should be responsable or the criminal?
      There is a lot of issues to consider before implamenting new laws.

      December 27, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmyjam048

      Great point! I have been an advocate for this for years! The license would also require akin a gun safety course....a REAl one, and a mental background check. Had James Holmes and George Zimmerman been required to do this, those events would have never occurred.

      December 29, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tuna

    This is why we should educate all our children about guns instead of keeping the, ignorant

    December 26, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fozman

      Who is keeping kids ignorant about guns? Maybe irresponsible gun owners who's kids end up dead because they didn't take ALL the right precautions, including teaching their kids about them, but as a whole schools now teach kids what to do about all sorts of gun related incidents, just like this one. That's what we have to do now that there are so many guns and so many stupid gun owners in our society.

      December 27, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Yes. You see they had to learn from the Boy Scouts of America. Not from home, or school, or anywhere else.

      What a crying shame.

      December 27, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Steven

    It's OK if one has a perfectly legal permit to carry a concealed firearm. It's not OK to lose that firearm while carrying it. It was the right move to revoke the permit.

    December 26, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Agreed. It may be hard to believe, but most responsible gun owners dislike irresponsible gun owners far more than gun control advocates.

      December 27, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. CJ

    Hats off to Boy and Girl Scouts for teaching responsibility, safety, respect, and how to react in all situations.

    December 26, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Edward

    Too much of this boils down to irresponsible gun ownership.

    December 27, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Jimmyjam048

      Your point makes too much sense. They'll never go for it.

      December 29, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. eastsidedude

    So nobody yet has tied this to Colorado and made a stupid comment about how if someone in that theater had a gun they would have been a hero and somehow found the one spot in his armor, which was about the size of a half dollar, by the way, and taken him out? What I can't believe is that the moron A) took his gun out of it's holster and put it in the seat and B) had a round in the chamber. That is rule #1 is that you never have a round chambered. Somewhere around rule #4 is "Don't ask the cops to help me commit a crime....." What an idiot. He SHOULD have lost his CCW. People don't grasp that with that privilege (as with any other privilege) comes a corresponding duty to obey the law and respect that privilege.

    December 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • GrandOldPatsy

      "Amor"? You clearly know nothing about bullet resistant materials. There is no such thing as a bulletproof vest.

      December 27, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |

    Really sad

    December 27, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
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