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Police did not identify the man who lost the gun but told CNN his concealed-carry permit has been revoked and information about the case was being forwarded to the district attorney.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

    Is it legal with a CC permit to keep one in the chamber?

    December 20, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • jerry

      cops do

      December 20, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      In MN it is

      December 20, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • armedlutheran

      You're not really armed if you don't. If you ever need to use it to defend yourself, too much can go wrong and time wasted if you're trying to rack the slide. Under extreme stress your fine motor skills are diminished. Having to manipulate the slide to load a round into the chamber takes time, it makes noise, it can result in a misfeed. Any of those can get you dead in a gunfight.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  2. Greek American


    That is the most ridiculous thing I have yet to hear about the gunman at that mall killing himself because some other idiot fool pulled out his gun. Did the gunman explain that was the case? Oh right, he didn't say that because he is dead, nor did anyone else at the scene, except maybe the fool that thinks he saved some lives by carrying a gun in the mall.

    December 20, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Schmoe

      Another mis-informed person with a strong opinion. It was on the news and was told by people who were there when it happened. Sorry it doesn't fit your emotionally driven agenda but facts have a way of contradicting emotions since they are based on kneejerk reactions and inherent prejudices.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jim

    The dupe had his gun concealed ... in a theater chair. He should get a year for child endangerment!

    December 20, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • kelli

      They have actually charged him with reckless endangerment.

      December 20, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joel

    Hey, why don't we just give everybody guns? That will solve the problem. And, while we are at it, lets give every nation nuclear weapons. That way, if a crazy dictator uses one against innocent people, we can be sure that a responsible, good country can respond in kind.

    December 20, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      No Doubt...

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

      And how about we all just show the world how stupid we are by posting dumb remarks on CNN blogs?

      December 20, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |

      I guess we just leave it to you to decide who can have a weapon or not. Sounds like you have already made the lists.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • h8bogez

      Just to point out, its only our country that has used nuclear weapons against innocents. Just saying...

      December 20, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike7

      Everybody makes mistakes. It was not took long ago that a policeman left his fully loaded AR-15 on hte trunk of his car and drove off. A concerned citizen stopped the police car and informed him of his error.

      There is nothing wrong with a person with a CHL taking a loaded gun anywhere desired. 2nd Amendment..Yea!!!
      Obviously, the man didn't desire to leave his weapon at the theatre. He is innocent.
      Neverheless, good job kiddos for turning the lost weapon in ! Excellent!!

      December 20, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jerry

    irresponsibility lies in the management of the said the theater for not shutting down and looking for a firearm that obviously was reported as being lost on their premises. Granted the CCW holder should have alerted the police just in case some dumb individual would have found and used it. this was not a public gathering, and one with CCW has a right to carry a defense weapon pretty much anywhere with few restrictions.

    December 20, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • shuffler

      Well if the theater is not a gun free zone it is fine to carry there. The issues I have here ... 1) the guy waited till the next day to check with the theater 2) no one at the theater checked where the guy sat the night before 3) the guy failed to report the lost firearm to the police.

      He should lose his right to carry.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • northernlighthorse

      @jerry The gun was lost Tuesday NIGHT, then found Wednesday MORNING, the reported lost to the theater WEDNESDAY NIGHT! According to the story, in that order. Really, the guy did not know he lost his piece when he went home, went to bed, or took a shower, or whatever? The theater is only responsible for not checking or cleaning every seat in their down time. Maybe gross, but not really irresponsible

      December 20, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jenny M

      Er – read the article. The kids were there Wednesday morning, but the gun owner didn't contact the theater until Wednesday evening.

      December 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      Totally agree Jerry. Theater did a poor job here. The minute that man stated his gun was lost they should have shut the place down until they found it and reported it to the authorities.

      December 20, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will T. Fokke

      Read it a little more closely. The boys found the gun Weds. morning. The man came to look for it Weds. night...

      December 20, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • scarf

      The gun was found Wednesday morning. The guy who lost it didn't call the theatre until Wednesday night.

      December 20, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • B

      Jerry, if you read the story you will see that the boys found the gun on Wednesday morning, "On Wednesday morning in Tillamook, Oregon...". The person who lost it did not report it until Wednesday night, "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."

      So, the theater had no knowledge until the boys found it.

      December 20, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • CrowMeris

      Please re-read the story. The boys found the gun on Wednesday MORNING. The fool 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."

      December 20, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Corrine

      Not making any argument, but, the article states that the children found the gun Wednesday morning, the gun owner did not come in to ask if it was found until Wednesday night and that he had lost it the previous night.

      December 20, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • marie

      So true

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

      Interesting. You seem to be implying that the lion's share of the blame lies with the theater, which never had a relationship with that gun, but I think the lion's share of the blame lies with the person who purchased and carried a loaded gun and made a commitment to be responsible for its use. I carry a purse. I don't forget it, ever. But if I did, I sure wouldn't blame the restaurant or theater where I left it.

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

      The kid found the gun Wed. morning. The gun owner reported it lost to the theatre on Wed night. You can't blame the theatre. Not all gun owners are "responsible" gun owners. This could have been a real tragedy for another parent.

      December 21, 2012 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      I'll bet if he lost his wallet in the theater this responsible dude wouldn't have gone home without reporting it!

      December 21, 2012 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
    • kacaliendo

      I don't think that is how it happened. I read that as him coming back to ask about his gun after it was already found and confiscated by police. It doesn't appear the theatre did anything wrong here.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Softship

      By the time he reported the gun lost, the kids had already found it.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Jodie

      I agree, the theater should have shut down immediately. Unfortunately, that "dumb individual" could have been a child....

      December 22, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Reading comprehension fail. The gun was lost Tuesday night. It was found Wednesday morning. It was not reported missing until Wednesday evening. The theater would have had no idea it was lost – this is fully the fault of the gun owner.

      December 25, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Just sayin

      It wasn't reported lost until AFTER the kids found it and it was turned into the police. So, the theater did nothing wrong. Also, a semi- automatic weapon is NOT a defense weapon, only paranoid people would carry one od these.

      December 28, 2012 at 6:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Generous Joe

      Did you not read the article? They didn't know a gun had been lost on their premises until later.
      Tuesday PM: Man loses gun and leaves, not knowing he lost it.
      Wednesday AM: Kids come to theater to watch movie, find gun that NO ONE knew was there.
      Wednesday PM: Man comes back to theater to ask if gun had been found thinking he may have dropped it there the night before.

      The theater never knew there was a gun on the premises until the kids found it. And the CCW holder SHOULD have alerted the police, which is why they've suspended his license, because he failed to do so.

      December 28, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  6. stl

    Now please do not tell me they end up giving back the gun to its owner. His gun license should be revoked, forever.

    December 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • jerry

      i guess when you loose your cellphone the same way they should not give it back to you either and ban you from using a telephone. he did report to the theater that he lost it there, where was the management on that situation?!

      December 20, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Brenda

    Boys, thank you for behaving appropriately and responsibly in a potentially dangerous situation.

    December 20, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Are you serious?!

      "potentially dangerous" LOLZ – If the boy who had taken a gun safety class was smart he would have picked it up while keeping it pointed down and made sure the safety was on – instead it sounds like they freaked out and had the teacher (who probably has no idea how to handle a gun) help because they are an "adult."

      December 20, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • iWillNotLose

      Are you serious?!? thinks that the "smarter" thing to do would be for the boys to pick up the gun and operate it INSTEAD of notifying an adult who can much more than likely make a better decision about how to handle the situation?!?

      as if "pointing the gun down" is gonna help if a shot goes off hits something, ricochets and kills his buddy.

      you're probably the idiot who lost the gun...

      December 20, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ramjet

      hey Areyouserious, Point for you to ponder.
      If they pick it up, they put fingerprints on what may be a murder weapon. Would You really want to do that??
      Again, don't be stupid, they did exactly the right thing. Don't touch it, get authorities involved ASAP.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. D$

    Once again, thank you Boy Scouts!

    December 20, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Steve

    There's too many people in the world. Expect violence to continue for your entire lifetime.

    December 20, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bill

    Great story. Nice to see some smart and law abiding teenagers who were also well trained. The DoD trains all their military and civilains on suicide prevention and signs to recognize in others who show signs that could lead to suicide and mass shootings. I highly recommend such training to be given in all schools and in a format for the age level and understanding. For example, you can provide same training to teenagers as the DoD provides. However, caution on how to present it to 6-12 year olds. Parents should be educated the same, so they can recognize all the signs that may exist in their own children and how to get the right kind of help for them.

    December 20, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bonnie

    These boys are Awesome! But for all you who keep lamenting the fact that "if everyone had a gun the world would be a safer place" this story underlines the problem with your theory. While there are millions of Safe Responsible Gun owners who would face a more difficult time accquiring weapons, it only takes on Idiot to put people at risk. If you are a Safe and Responsible Gun owner you should not have a problem with better laws and safeguards in place, it will mean the weeding out of morons like this who make you look bad

    December 20, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Responsible

      Bonnie, "better laws and safeguards?" like what? In addition to the 20,000 gun laws already on the books??

      December 20, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. KG

    Well done boys! You used your training AND common sense- you should be commended.

    December 20, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. citizenUSA

    There should be some reward program for these guys.

    December 20, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Evangelicide

    Ha ha ha!!!

    Two seventh graders: 1

    "Responsible gun owner": 0

    December 20, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mom In PA

    GREAT JOB BOYS!!!!!!!!!! These boys should be awesomly rewarded!

    December 20, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
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