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Police did not identify the man who lost the gun but told CNN his concealed-carry permit has been revoked and information about the case was being forwarded to the district attorney.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

    Why isn't the fact that these boys were educated about guns a bigger point in the story? They didn't touch it or mess with it BECAUSE they knew about guns.

    December 20, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jimbo

    I used to clean theaters and often found wallets that fell out of pockets. Called them first thing and some didn't know they had lost it yet.

    December 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Maria

    Your gun. Your responsibility. If you don't know how to keep track of your weapon, you are NOT a responsible gun owner and should pay a fine for your stupidity and should have that weapon taken away. Want to buy another one? Then there should be a mandatory gun safety class on your record before you can.

    December 20, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • armedlutheran

      Absolutely right. And to respond to what @jimbo said as well, dropping a gun is not like dropping a wallet, in most cases. There are very small, light guns for CC, but looking at the picture, that one would not be easy to miss. How do you not know you dropped it? Even so, if you are responsible, you carry in a secure holster or pants pocket and you make darn certain you know where it is at all times. If he didn't even realize he lost it, how could he use it if he needed to?

      December 21, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  4. CC

    The owner should lose his carry permit, possibly pay a token fine. The loss of the permit, and the fine, should be public knowledge. The rest of those with carry permits would apply a bit more attention to the security of their weapons, as they should.

    December 20, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Gun Owner

    btchslapthegunowner - You are an idiot... that blanket statement is as accurate as all blondes are stupid, or all black people are lazy, Better yet, All Liberals are Jack Asses... Oh wait the last is TRUE. All kinds of stupid people participate in a variety of activities and have different hobbies, YouTube shows many different fails, heck they even have Obama fail videos, not all obviously, because the W W W would crash..... Point is people do stupid stuff but not everyone is stupid.

    December 20, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. gm

    kudos to these, cautious, responsible....everyone on this post has a smart remark...some praise guns s..some idepends who you ask...anymore...just STOP and think...what if you lost your own kid to a maniac with a gun...which is so common these days...copy cats everywhere..loosers that want to make a scene...become famous..killing inocent kits...WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU LOST YOUR OWN KID? THINK ABOUT THAT FOR A Sec..visualize the fact that your kid is not longer home to greed you, play with you...make your day...think..and then ask yourself...what is more life...and why?????

    December 20, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      yes but attempting to remove the guns from normal people isn't going to stop the bad guys or the crazy people from planning or executing these things. So where does that leave us. NO where. Mental health screenings should be a must. That's it. Sane people don't do things like this.

      December 20, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • RC Roeder


      So you are saying his mother was not sane?

      December 20, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Todd in DC

    Because just after the Sandy Hook massacre, some idiot thinks it's safe to bring a fully loaded semi automatic pistol into a dark, crowded movie theatre.

    December 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • AL

      Sure it's safe to bring a loaded weapon into a crowded theater. As long as the person doesn't use it, or lose it then that is perfectly fine – and within the persons legal rights. He probably lost his permit for failing to report it to the police.

      December 20, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • brian

      But he did loose it. That's my issue with concealed carry. Too many people aren't responsible with their weapon. How can you be carrying a gun and not know it has fallen out of its holster? Why was it able to fall out in the first place? I've heard the argument that when you carry your gun all the time it becomes like a piece of clothing and you forget you have it. I say BS. If you can ever forget you're carrying it or ever consider it no different than a piece of clothing then you have no business carrying a gun. While I don't have a conceal carry, I do own guns and there is not a minute of the day that I can't tell you exactly where my gun is, what condition it is in (assembled or not),if it is loaded and if so, how many rounds are in it.

      December 20, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. chrissy

    Funniest post goes to...Drumroll plz....jlagray! lol ty! And thanks to all the negative nellies in the room for turning a positive story into a bunch of drivel!

    December 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheWreeder

      Can't agree with you more! Absolutely brilliant post ( with no spelling or grammatical errors...what a plus these days ) !

      December 20, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. LT

    You know the difference between genius and stupidity? Genius has its limits.

    December 20, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Alan

    Good job to the kids, but this is starting to feel like a setup for anti gun laws. Some jerk planted it there everybody here knows they cost to much to leave them laying around. This is BULL SH and all of us know it.
    Nice try anti gun idiots you almost killed a few more kids, i'm glad they were smarter then you. Everyone should see that this is a setup for anti gun laws. And if it is neglect the serial number on the gun will point out the real iidiot.

    December 20, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • tardfarmer

      wow, read the article. A moron with a concealed carry permit lost it... loaded with a round in the chamber. Thankfully when the gun fell it did not go off and kill some kids going to see the Hobbit. And then the moron did not alert police that he lost his firearm.. ummmm.....

      And before you start accusing me of being some liberal anti gun freak, I own 30 firearms, but mine are safely locked away. We need more regulation with guns and more stringent laws on who can get a concealed carry.

      December 20, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      Sometimes it's better to remain quiet, rather than typing something like you just did, and remove all doubt.

      If you don't get it, I understand.

      December 20, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dizzyd

    Pls answer me this: why do ppl feel the need to carry a loaded weapon on them at all? (And whether it's fully loaded or only has one round is beside the point – one bullet is still loaded!) Do they feel that threatened everywhere they go? I just imagine a nightmare situation where it accidently goes off while taking it out or they have a beef with the world and pull it out and – another Aurora! Sure, have it at home or in your car and learn safety, but walking around with it? Defending against an armed lunatic is not going to happen every day. This isn't the wild west or an action flick where exchanging gunfire is expected.

    December 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • AL

      Is it that hard to imagine why someone (who is intelligent, reasonable, and responsible) would want to carry a gun? They want it for protection. Maybe they will never have to use it, and maybe they will. The mentality (and it's a person opinion) is – If the bad guy has a gun and pulling it out to kill innocents, then I want to have a gun to kill the bad guy. It is a legitimate opinion. Frankly I would feel more comfortable carrying a firearm in case of a situation. I don't need an assault weapon, but a hand-gun is OK imo.

      December 20, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rich

      If in fact there had been someone in Colorado in that movie, it is more than likely that less people would have died. The same goes for every place that has had this kind of event. I have carried my licensed firearm in numerous theaters, and everywhere I go. If you end up in this kind of position, you'll be praying I'm there to stop that fool. Or maybe the idea of waiting three to five minutes for law enforcement to arrive is what you want. Yes, there are some fools out there. But it is a proven fact that if more trained people had the ability to carry a firearm, there would be less crime and a lot less victims. These kids did a good job, and the person who lost the firearm needs to be punished and or loose his right to carry. I respect your oppinion, But I hope you will consider my view with an open mind.

      December 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not Al

      My guess is he's a wannabe hero. So many CCW nuts claim they're going to save the day when someone ELSE starts shooting. God help us if that ever happens.

      December 20, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • AL

      @Not Al – Just because someone does not agree with your viewpoint does not make them wrong. Just because someone wants to carry a gun does not make them a nut or a wannabe hero. It's easy to classify people into a bucket for convenience sake, but those kinds of arguments are logical fallacies.

      December 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • EuphoricCrest

      Aurora, CO Theater – 16 dead, 58 wounded, July 2012
      San Antonio, TX Theater – 1 person shot, December 2012
      Bolivar, MO Theater – Mass murder plot foiled by police, December 2012

      People carry for self protection. It's not that hard to understand.

      December 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Hollywood

    Some bloggers are absolute idiots. This was a serious story.

    December 20, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. JimTX

    People act like the guy planted this pistol (a Beretta 84 by the way) on purpose. It obviously came out of his pocket or holster. He handled it poorly in not reporting sooner. I would have reported to the police as well.

    December 20, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • RC Roeder

      The person was careless and shoul be stripped of his permit for LIFE. One thing losing the gun, another not reporting it.

      December 20, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. gunlover

    See guns saves life.
    The boys decided not to touch the gun, it saved their life.

    December 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Drew

    Yup, CCW holders ... the answer to all of our problems - or so the gun nuts tell us.

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