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Police did not identify the man who lost the gun but told CNN his concealed-carry permit has been revoked and information about the case was being forwarded to the district attorney.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

    Maybe the gun just wanted to see the Hobbit. Finally we have a sane gun that just wants to get along in life without going on a killing spree like so many of his kind.

    December 29, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jokesterer

    What kind of irresponsible parent would teach their child gun safety. That's akin to handing them a Bushmaster and telling them it's OK to shoot up the school!

    December 29, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dude McFarland

      Yes indeed its much better to have the child completely ignorant when stumbling across a firearm. lol

      December 30, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. John

    Sad that CNN will make an article out of anything that includes a "Gun". I miss the old days when CNN was the main NEWS company and not a sheeple tool for the left...

    December 29, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. duh

    How do we truly know that those kids didn't bring the gun, and are just trying to play hero. Whole story sounds fishy to me.

    December 31, 2012 at 5:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. Phyl

    Thankfully the gun didn't go off when that student sat down...could have been a close call...I commend the students for reporting this. Smart call on their part...

    December 31, 2012 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
  6. JMBrown

    Way to go boys!!! Good for you!

    December 31, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  7. mbrant02

    Boy Scouts is a great organization. These guys make us proud.

    December 31, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Fed Up With It All

    My investment in a big-screen TV, home theater stereo, and a blue-ray DVD player is paying off. I just make some popcorn, turn the lights down, and watch movies with my family in the comfort and SAFETY of my own home. Monetarily speaking (given the price of movie tickets and theater popcorn) it will pay for itself by the 50th movie we watch .. but It has already paid for itself in peace of mind.

    January 1, 2013 at 6:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Gadflie

      Not much good at statistics, are you?

      January 1, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Math A. Matics

      Well, the math may be a little off but I think we get the idea, eh @Gadflie?

      January 5, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin Joseph

      Spot on Gadflie!

      January 7, 2013 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Knucklehead

      ....he said just before the home invaders broke in and shot his family to death (as they watched the 49th movie on their bigscreen

      January 9, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rd

      @fed up with it all- do you have someone sit behind you and kick your seat or have others talk & check their phones durning the movie to re-create a real movie going experience?

      January 17, 2013 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Betty

    Why all the comments and arguments???? What we need here is a GOOD JOB BOYS!! AND what these boys did should be "viral" and used as an example for all !! They listened, they learned and they acted upon what they learned. This kept not only them, but possibly others, from being hurt or killed by this loaded weapon. MEDAL OF HONOR to these very "with-it" kids!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 1, 2013 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Really? A medal of honor? What do they get if they help an old lady across the street? A parade in their honor?
      You make a mockery of an honor bestowed on only the bravest. You Betty are part of the reason these kids cannot deal with reality. It should have been good job boys, now get back to the movie.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sheila

      Yes Betty, the boys did the right thing, and they are to be commended. However, some moron lost a loaded gun with a round in the chamber, and did not have the decency to warn the theatre that it may have been left there.

      January 1, 2013 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • candiduscorvus

      While I agree these boys did well, the Medal of Honor is a special award given only to sworn military members who have performed the very bravest and heroic of actions. Often it is awarded posthumously.

      January 4, 2013 at 5:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      I think Betty was basically saying that instead of arguing constantly, let us all agree that what these kids did was admirable and deserves to be recognized. And I agree. There are a lot of arguments that can be made here. But one thing we can all agree on is that these responsilbe, intelligent kids did a very good thing. It may not warrant a Medal of Honor, but they do deserve to be recognized and put as an example for other youngsters.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • franklovesfl

      Sheila: read the article again. He DID warn the theater. What he DIDN'T do is notify the police.

      Why the theater didn't do anything more than say "We didn't find it' is a matter for their next HR meeting.

      January 16, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pasty

      relax people she was just making a point. I am sure she doesn't literally mean the kids need to win the medal of honor given to soldiers. good god

      January 16, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    Good for the boys. Why are they prosecuting him. He has a legal permit. Then again, oregon is full of the usual hypocrites. Poorly written and biased article. Starting with "With the horrific news involving guns from Newtown, Connecticut" shows how ignorant the author is.

    January 1, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • gladr

      The dupe lost his gun and didn't report it. His first mistake was not making sure the gun was secure on his person. His second was not reporting it as lost, IMMEDIATELY

      January 1, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      If a lawful gun owner acts irresponsibly and then compounds his/her error by breaking the law (failure to report loss to police), then he/she is no longer a lawful gun owner, and should be held accountable - or else he/she puts the rights of ALL lawful gun owners at risk.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • mr. butters

      And you Mike, and the man in the report are every gun owners worst enemy. People are worried about losing the second amendment. Claim responsible gun ownership. This happens and then they ask why is he punished? This is why people want to restrict firearms. Because people like you and the people in this article make responsible gun owners an oxymoron.

      January 2, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arney

      Mike, I don't know about the concealed law there but in North Carolina (I have a concealed permit for North Carolina) You cannot take one into anywhere that you pay admission to, funerals, parades, where they sell alcohol for consumption or any federal grounds which now include schools. that is probably why they are prosecuting him. most all states have the same restrictions since the carry permit is reciprocal.

      January 3, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wiley

      Mike, did you actually read the article? The cops said his permit had been revoked and the case was going to the DA.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carl Heckman

      Uh, Wiley, they revoked the permit AFTER he lost his gun, not before it. (Otherwise the word "had" would have been used instead of "has".)

      January 11, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. miriam

    Good job, boys!

    January 2, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. DL

    What's with this obsession with guns?! And amazingly the strongest in our society – white large males – are the ones who most feel the need to pack – are you that afraid of everyone & everything?

    January 3, 2013 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Ernest

      Interesting question. Unfortunately I don't think I'm qualified to argue against it. I'm white. I'm 5'10. About 170 lbs. Somewhat lean or "athletic". And I got a concealed carry permit. Rarely left my house with gun.

      In my case I got the permit because putting a jacket on, if it covered my holster at all, would legally be classified as "concealed" and I wanted to avoid the legal trouble if I happened to put a big shirt or jacket on while carrying.
      But I'm not really afraid of much in terms of "needing to pack."

      I guess it's easy to assume that anyone who owns a gun is afraid of something in the same way that anyone who keeps a spare tire in their car is afraid.

      January 4, 2013 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
    • bluegillonthefly

      I know a lot of people who own handguns or have in the past, and while the majority of them are men, white men are slightly in the minority in that group, and only one of them is big. He's 6'5", a former deputy, and could beat the crap out of most anybody without needing a gun – but if the other guy is 5'5" and he's armed, being a foot taller and a foot wider doesn't count for much if you aren't armed.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      DL – "And amazingly the strongest in our society – white large males – are the ones who most feel the need to pack "
      You're in need of a refresher : the largest demographic buying firearms now are women, many of whom are concerned mothers.

      January 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • kj

      DL, you're watching too much MMA and NHL, a common misconception but understood. The fears are of larger minorities, who unfortunately may be unemployed and perceived as nefarious. In any case, not to go all political, Race has nothing do with it. The white large males portion is disturbing but there is a larger, and deeper fear overall. As the news depicts, white males are carrying out atrocities, yet not shown is the inner city genocide if I may call it that which occurs on a daily basis. Last, I'm pro gun, a minority, Black and Native American, I pray for peace but will continue to carry mine when the calvary doesn't arrive in time.

      January 18, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. The Majestic

    So he has a Concealed Carry Permit but is too incompetent to keep track of his firearm? Yes, let's loosen restrictions on firearms that makes a whole lot of sense. pppff!! How stupid do you have to be? Did he forget where he sat? There is only a population of 5000- how big could the theater be? Was he drunk? Why did he have a round in the chamber in a movie theater? Did he think he couldn't manage before someone stormed in the back door (with another legally obtained firearm) and started blasting people? If he was such a coward that he couldn't go see a movie without a loaded gun then he should have stayed home.

    January 3, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jordan

      Carrying a gun with a bullet in the chamber is called condition 1 and it is very common with conceal and carry. No different than not having a round chambered to be honest, a pistol has like 3 safety mechanisms.

      January 8, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • bluegillonthefly

      Carrying with a round in the pipe is totally normal, it's how most people do it. He was stupid to not have the weapon properly secured and deservedly lost his CCW, but you quite simply don't know what you're talking about.

      Loosen restrictions on firearms? Yes, absolutely we should. "Shall issue" should be the law of the land. Why? Because the bad guys are all carrying already anyway, as you may have heard. A shall-issue policy would increase the number of responsible citizens carrying.

      Since you mentioned someone else bursting into the theater with a firearm, I'd like to point out that yes, that seems to be a real possibility these days, and the only thing that could possibly make a difference is one or more armed movie-goers who oppose the shooter. Even if they don't get him, they will slow him down and draw his fire, allowing more people to escape.

      I'm all for having armed people around me in the theater. It could save my life. It could save yours. Think about that.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Arney

    The boys did a great job!! Will make responsible gun owners for the future if this country has a future or guns!!!

    January 3, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mairez

      Exactly what the NRA Eddie Eagle Program teaches: stop, don't touch, leave the area, get an adult.
      Good job, boys – you understand safe handling of firearms.

      January 7, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. candiduscorvus

    Surprised the school district didn't punish these boys for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. That seems to be the norm with school districts these days and their zero-tolerance policies about everything from wearing the wrong t-shirt to pointing a finger and saying "bang".

    Anyway those are a couple of responsible young men and I hope they get the praise they deserve.

    January 4, 2013 at 5:45 am | Report abuse |
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