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Police did not identify the man who lost the gun but told CNN his concealed-carry permit has been revoked and information about the case was being forwarded to the district attorney.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

    We have gun laws and they still aren't followed. We don't need more we just need to enforce the ones that are in place. He should be punished for being irresponsible with his weapon and have his license suspended.

    December 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Caron

      Oh, sure. If Adam Lanza were alive, we could punish him and suspend his mother's license - now wouldn't THAT make it all better!!

      December 20, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boo

      If Nancy Lanza knew her son had psychological issues, why did she expose him to guns? Sounds like BAD parenting to me.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • shamus


      December 20, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarineSD

      Do you troll these sites just to be condescending? Maybe you should find ways to add helpful comments and not hate, then maybe people could have meaningful conversations. BTW good on the kids that found the handgun, way to show some restraint and proper weapons handling.

      December 20, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • TC

      And if she had not been allowed to have a firearm that can spray large numbers of bullets, what would have happened?

      December 20, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • ZG

      No, but nothing will make you better either you sarcastic hippie.

      December 20, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnC

      Well if she were required to lock the guns in a good safe then he wouldn't have been able to get the guns.

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

      If his mother were still alive she should be prosecuted for 20+ cases of negligent homicide. Who keeps unsecured guns in a house with a mentally unstable person?

      December 20, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Responsible

      Caron, do you really think it was his mother's fault? The shooter was on mood-altering medications. ALL the school/mall/theater shootings in the US were done by individuals who were on one prescription or another of a mood-altering, psychosomatic pharmaceutical medication. This is the real root cause of it all. Sounds to me his mother took her son to the shooting range to bond with him. Can't blame her. Blame big pharma.

      December 20, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • blah blah blah

      @caron, yes it would, her knowingly having a mentally ill person with access to her guns should be breaking the law..think about it on your application for permit it ask if you have any mental illness, if you check yes you will be denied. That should cause a light bulb to come on in your head that it probably wouldnt be safe to have your firearms easily accessible when your child suffers from a mental illness..long gone are the days you can put your guns in the closet, or under the bed, she owned a ar-15 and 2 pistols, but no safe preventing someone who on their own could not obtain a gun legally to have access to them...

      December 21, 2012 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
    • lol

      We have laws that say you shouldn't rob a bank either but criminals still do. Should we get rid of the laws that says robbing banks is illegal? You're saying what good is a law if everyone doesn't follow it, right? Well, if everyone did, we wouldn't need that law in the first place now would we.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • larryb

      no...we should put the robbers in jail...and your comment says nothing

      December 20, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • oldone

      And yet another law would be just as (in)effective -

      December 20, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Get Over Yourself

      Oh god – you people twist things like pretzels to justify your ignorance. It is proven in other countries that an assault weapon ban in fact REDUCES GUN DEATHS!!! Let me break it down for you. If I make it wrecklessly simple for 1,000 people to buy an assault weapon by not even having to show a drivers license to prove who they are or have a criminal background check then I have 1,000 potential nut jobs armed and ready to kill YOU. If I actually put steps in place that in real life prevent 750 of those nut jobs from buying assault weapons I've just improved YOUR ODDS OF NOT BEING GUNNED DOWN IN RANDOM VIOLENCE, I then only have to track 250 wack jobs instead of 1,000 > THAT IS WHAT THIS IS ABOUT. PULL YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR DIRTY BACK SIDE AND WAKE UP.

      December 20, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • EvenSteven

      Holy Moly, Do you really believe your own words? How about the 100 million plus people killed around the world in the last century who did not have the means to protect themselves? From Adolf and Pol and Joseph and Idi and all of their friends? You who have been sitting for the last 50 years just minutes from racial extinction by a bunch of real crazies holding the launch buttons on thousands of Nuclear weapons.. You have your panties twisted up over some knucklehead losing his weapon in a movie seat? You think banning "Assault weapons" is going to fix the worlds problems? You are trying to stuff the Genie back in the bottle.. Hell, go look up the Bath Schoolhouse attack in 1927. Where a nutjob killed 45 people, mostly kids by blowing up the entire school. Over property taxes.

      December 22, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
    • D

      I own an assault rifle. An AR 15 as matter of fact. I'm completely ok with making these harder to obtain and requiring a separate license. But to think that will stop or impede these psychopaths is inaccurate. They will find ways to carry out their plan. But like I said I'm all for making it harder. And for the record I did have to show my ID and get a background check for mine. Don't know if its standard practice but I was checked

      December 25, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • boise

      I don't mean to be offensive, but did you read what you wrote? The point is that people will do it, even if the law is there. In the case of guns, it keeps the good guys from protecting themselves and others from the bad guys. Be honest, if there was an armed security officer at Newtown, would so many innocent children have died? Can you honestly say that taking guns from everyone would make you safer? Would it have detered Lanza? Or would he have used bombs, knives, a bow and arrow even? Drove his car into the side of the building? In the Art of War it is: "Do not rely on your enemy not attacking, but on your own readiness to recieve him." We carry car insurance to ensure that when we wreck, we can afford to fix the transportation that so much relies on. We hold money in savings so when an accident happens, we can afford to fix it. We put alarms in our houses for when the thieves come in they have less time to take away what is dear to us. We carry guns so when we are confronted with a gun; we will have an option to save ourselves and others. Laws are to protect the ignorant and the innocent, not to prevent the evil. The evil could care less what laws are there.

      December 24, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dustin


      December 20, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bonnie

      We don't need new ones.. How about getting rid of the loophole that allows people to buy weapons at a Gun Show without a Background Check... maybe that might be a new one worth while

      December 20, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • xyz

      do we have laws that prevent mentally ill would-be mass killers like james holmes from procuring his weapons? do we have laws that would prevent a seemingly intelligent, 'normal' mother from training her mentally ill son in the use of semi-automatic weapons and then not securing them sufficiently from him. or are we prepared to accept that future massacres are an acceptable price to pay for the (lack of) gun control we presently have.

      December 20, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • TimBurton

      I agree! Let me know when you figure out what "the loophole" is and I'll close it for you right away!

      December 21, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Johnny Right

      I do not know where this idea is coming from. Every dealer at a gun show is required to run a background check if an individual is not carrying a concealed weapons permit. That has been the law for a long time.

      December 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • ccw holder

      i dont think you know how gun shows work. the people that are there are licensed dealers, they have to get a background check and fill out a form 4473. just as they would if they were doing the sale in their store.

      January 4, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matthew

      We need more.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • John the baptist

      How kind of you to put all those police officers in harms way. Perhaps you need to get out there and disarm people retroactively.

      December 20, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      They did revoke permit read at the bottom

      December 20, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Factswillsetyoufree

      If you read the statistics, out of the 12,400+ gun related murders last year, only 300 of them were with assault rifles. That is less than 2% of all gun related murders.

      So congratulations, you would resolve approximately 2% of gun murders.

      December 20, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Ah – this old canard. It's bull. The fact of the matter is, we do NOT have adequate gun laws. People can easily buy guns without a background check, without a permit, with all sorts of criminal and mental health problems. Moreover, assault weapons are still legal in many, many places. We have the most permissive gun LAWS in the industrialized world, not simply the most lax enforcement.

      December 22, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • robo

      money will always find a way to acquire those weapons that are desired, illegal or not. Only a multi pronged approach over a significant number of years will have any benefit. Facility security, porous borders, revaluing of life in society.

      December 26, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roscoe

      I agree with Ted, he should have been charged with a crime. I am sure there are several laws they could use. I would never forget my wallet, shoes, or my gun.

      December 28, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bryan

      He should be punished in accordance with the law. In this knee-jerk society, lawful gun owners should not have their rights infringed because of the poor care & decisions of the few.

      January 1, 2013 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jon

    Another idiot who feels the need to "carry" a gun around – even to a theater – and then lose it??? What a fool.

    December 20, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • God

      Another dependent, cowardly, perpetual child who depends on other people with guns in order to defend him while criticizing the very behavior that he relies upon for safety.

      December 20, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bryan

      I mean really. what's the worst that could happen in a movie theater, right?

      January 1, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Politico

      Yeah, because no one would EVER need a gun in a theater to defend oneself from some gun-wielding idiot. Right?

      January 2, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. vp

    charges better be filed....

    December 20, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sam Crow

    Smart kids. Cant say the same for the idiot that dropped his pistol. I am sure more and more are carrying in theaters, etc. but you have to be extremely alert, cautious, and careful. Some are just not meant to be permitted to carry.

    December 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. hillbillynwv

    He was carrying his weapon that evening incase another physco dicided to shoot up another theatre. He should had been more responsible with his weapon, can't argue about that.

    December 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Caron

      Too many gun lovers are morons. That's why we need stricter gun control laws. That boob who lost his gun probably blogs about how gun owners must be responsible and how much safer he is carrying a concealed weapon. The arguments for guns are so empty of reason.

      He probably thinks that the Aurora Theater killings would not have happened if everyone in the Theater was packing. Now how stupid is that??!! Can you imagine everyone in a dark theater, hearing gun shots, pull out their guns and start shooting the fuirst person they see with a gun who is shooting. Gotta wonder how long it would take for all of them to be dead or dying. Fools.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • commonsense

      thank for clearing that up

      December 20, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Winston5

    ...another "responsible gun owner," huh? (read: crayzee!)

    December 20, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Enquirer

    The man who lost the gun shoul have the permit canceled.Why he carried the gun in that place? If you have a gun permit even concealed one it does not mean that it is ethical and safe to carry it all the time in all places where there are kids or many people and accidents, fights, thefts can happen and such small weapon will only incite not defend from a possible angry mob when you are not an official authority to deal with people. The office and authority which issued the concealed permit should be research by FBI to see whether they do proper checks when issue such licences and verify the responsibility and credibility and necessity to get concealed gun licenses of applicants for licenses.

    December 20, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. kerry

    To quote James Coburn in "Maverick" (the movie), "Your security isn't worth a damn. Everyone's got a gun!"

    December 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jujubebemumu

    I would surely hope that loses his concealed handgun license as a result of this.

    December 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ghost town

    Ah yes, the mythological "responsible gun owner" complete with CCP paperwork. Bravo, gun owner, bravo – you just turned into the poster-idiot for gun control laws. May you lose your gun, your CCP and you'd better be damned happy that your stupid stunt didn't get an innocent person killed.

    Hat's off and a hearty "Thank you!" to these two fine young men who used their common sense and smarts and did all the right things. Big thumbs up to Kolton and Levi!

    December 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ArrestHimIncarcerateHim

    How do we know he didn't leave the gun in the theatre for THE JOKER? huh?

    December 20, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Cindy

    Lock up the gun owner!!! Someone could have gotten hurt/killed.

    December 20, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Josh

    Congratulations on judging this man based on a situation you know very little about, other than what the news tells you. You can't treat every occurrence as a prime example for your case, regardless of which side you are on. Yeah, he made a mistake with the handgun, but nothing bad happened, nobody got hurt. We should all be thankful it didn't fire when it dropped out of the seat, and talkign about how commendable these kids are for doing what they did. And people wonder why many have lost their faith in humanity.

    December 20, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      11 people proved my point in the time it took me to write that paragraph.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • ingyandbert

      "... nothing bad happened, nobody got hurt. We should all be thankful it didn't fire when it dropped out of the seat."

      Josh, you do have a brain, right? A fully loaded gun was left in a theater where it was later found by children. What more would you possibly need to know?

      December 20, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Greek American

    Everyone can judge this man and correctly say that he is an idiot and a fool. Add the theater workers in that group also, for not calling the police themselves or at least going back into where that fool watched the movie and conducting a further inspection of the area.

    December 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Terry

    Good job guys. They did the right thing. Just leave it alone and call the police. In this situation let the authorities handle it. No one was in danger as long as they left the weapon alone.

    December 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
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