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Police did not identify the man who lost the gun but told CNN his concealed-carry permit has been revoked and information about the case was being forwarded to the district attorney.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

    The boys did good and should be commended. The person who lost the gun, may he have fun in the courts.

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

    Perhaps the saddest part of this story's presentation is that it relegates the salient point of this experience to the background, and instead, panders to the emotional sensationalism du jour.

    The boys who found the gun did the right thing precisely BECAUSE they had training with guns.

    Put that same gun in the hands of any curious child that was neglected the opportunity to understand how the real world works and there likely could have been a different consequence.

    The legal banning of guns will not ban them from the real world, but only place a higher concentration of guns in the hands of bad guys. Anyone who legally, ethically, and responsibly obtains a firearm for the right reason would never leave one behind in a theater. Someone who is determined to act maliciously will do so with our without a ban.

    December 20, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • sethchalnick

      Upon re-reading the article, I see the person who left the gun there actually mistakenly did so. This guys should be stripped of his rights to keep weapons and suffer a steep penalty. I am all for exercising personal freedom, but we have to also be accountable for our actions. There is no excuse for this level of carelessness. Way to go guy... where can we submit your nomination for a DarwinAward.

      December 20, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rich

      I would like to respectfuly disagree with your repost. People are not held accounable for there actions. If they were, We wouldn't be seeing this attempt to ban weapons because some mentaly troubled fool killed these innocent Children. The killers are soley responcible for there actions, not the Gun, not the gun company, not the person who sold the firearm, Just the killer. I trully wish that we did hold each and every person accountable for there actions.

      December 20, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. scarf

    I am in favor of mental health screening before one is issued a gun permit. If this were done, I believe it would eliminate from the gun bearing population most people who believe they need a 30 round clip for self defense/hunting purposes.

    December 20, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Taylor

      There is a problem with the brain scans, there are people with physcopathic brain chemistries, that don't act as such, our childhoods are largely responsible for that.

      December 20, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Taylor

    If they don't want a gun to be dangerous here's a solution, remove clip/magazine, clear round from barrel(pull slide back), turn safety on, keep finger off trigger then get somebody else's help don't treat it like a rattlesnake for F sake anybody can handle a firearm safely, those kids proved it.

    December 20, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Calvin

    Alan; sane people don't carry guns!!!
    Guns are used to shoot at alive beings; either animals or humans. Shooting is intended to kill the target.

    The phrase, "Guns Don't Kill People" is said as an excuse to direct the blame away from gun-killings. So, if you own a gun, directly or indirectly, your intension is to kill another human being.

    December 20, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      You sir are a complete IDIOT!

      December 20, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • ZG

      Calvin, you are the ultimate troll. "Sane people don't carry guns." How do you figure? Without broadening this statement to a political status, as it is not intended, I would like to say that there are plenty of sane people who carry guns. Even if they were only intended to shoot living beings, they can be used to prevent violent behavior from "alive beings" who mean others harm. You hippie filth

      December 20, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Vijay

    The easy way to remove guns from everyone. Every one will get 2000 to 5000 dollars from federal govt, if they return the guns. depending on the nature of the gun. This will end gun violence and it will save Govt wastage of time and tax payer dollars. The money can be used in education and mental health issues of everyone.

    December 20, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • EuphoricCrest

      Uh... That would coast the Federal government (i.e., TAXPAYERS) about three quarters of a trillion dollars. And how is this going to save the taxpayer money?

      December 20, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Smart Lady

      Vijay? Is this short for Vijayjay?? Because that is what you freaken sound like you idiot!

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

      You're an idiot.

      December 20, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Angie

      What you've stated has absolutely no basis than the meanderings rolling around in your skull. I have guns and I could care less if the government offered me money to turn them in. I have them for various reasons and wouldn't part with them unless it's because I wanted to upgrade. Somebody else just responded to you about the cost. We're talking about millions of weapons that we KNOW about. Pull out your calculator and do the math. The government (who would get it's money from taxing the people) doesn't have that kind of cash flow and, even if they did, they have other things to spend it on like education, roads, and other various miscellaneous government functions.

      I'll tell you the same thing I told my high school students. Just because you're able to type and have access to media doens't mean that what you have to say is good.

      December 20, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bill

    You anti gun people are stupid if you think more gun laws will help. If the government try's to ban guns you will see the next American revolution. And I promise you we will win because we are very well armed.

    December 20, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • grannylady

      Bill is just the kind of guy that the rest of us normal people should be afraid of. A swaggering, paranoid, threatening, anti American bully who is most likely armed to the teeth. He is just waiting in hopes for an excuse to shoot people..ANY excuse... to show the world what a "big" guy he is. Perfect example of a man who should NOT have guns.

      December 20, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Won't it be fun to watch Bill and his little band of friends armed with rifles attacking U.S. Army tank's and armored personnel carriers. They won't last 5 minutes in their "revolution"

      December 20, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      I think Jefferson Davis said something like that in the 1860s.

      December 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • ZG

      I love my firearms, Bill, but you are an absolute gutter troll

      December 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dale

      Actually Michael: The way the guns nuts interpret the 2nd amendment they should be able to buy current models of tanks, and any other piece of military hardware they want. I'm surprised some of them haven't build and procured a working ballistic missile system.

      December 20, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • scarf

      Bill is a perfect example of the type of person who needs to be screened for mental illness so the government can take away his guns.

      December 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Texhimself

    Yep. Some concealed carry NRA goon won't even report his lost manhood to the cops. What a jerk.

    December 20, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MarkInChiTown

    If you ask the guy, I'm sure he'd tell you he took the gun to the theatre to protect himself from
    another Aurora Colorado. My question is, what's worse.... One crazed maniac shooting in the
    dark, or TWO crazed maniacs shooting in the dark???

    December 20, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • grannylady

      Exactly, To top it off there was a round in the chamber! What if the boy HAD picked it up off the flloor and it went off. ? It could have easily been another tragedy. Thank goodness the boy was ten times smarter than the paraniod jerk who felt he had to take a loaded gun into a theater.

      December 20, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnC

      exactly, when people consider having/carrying a gun they need to first figure the chance of a REAL need (actual dangerous assault). Then figure the chance they will use the gun sucessfully to handle such situations. Finally they need to figure the chance that over time it will get taken from them or go off accidentally or they panic and wrongly use it. If the odds strongly favor sucessful use in a real situation over the negative outcomes then go for it. For some this is a good decision but for many/most it's not just based on their particular odds.

      December 20, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jrgarza

    "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"

    But what about all of the federal agents that have left weapons in restrooms across he country,are they going to be fired????

    December 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • peridot2

      They are *always* disciplined. Sometimes they are *fired.* How can you be unaware that this takes place?

      December 20, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. lindaluttrell

    Two very bright and sensible young men! You make your parents proud.

    December 20, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ZG

    This isn't even news. We have villainized firearms to the extent that a boyscout treats it like a smallpox sample? When I was a scout we learned how to safely handle firearms. The last thing I would want is to go get teacher to remedy the issue and another child who doesn't know how to deal safely with the weapon accidentally discharges it. Everybody needs to deal with the fact that guns are here to stay, for better or worse.

    December 20, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • TC

      Thank goodness those boys treated it like the disease it was. It was LOADED, and fell to the floor.

      December 20, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • ZG

      It's not a disease. It serves many incredibly useful purposes

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

      So, a little .22 cal pistol. with a short barrel, is accurate to about 25 feet, if that. It is a crappy protection gun, unless you get hit in the heart or the brain, you can't stop a person with it. Not even an EFFECTIVE gun owner, just someone who can't defend himself and this doof can't even keep track of his weapon.

      December 20, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ZG

    Worst story ever. This isn't news. Boyscouts aren't supposed to be afraid of guns. What is going on people?

    December 20, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • TC

      CHILDREN are supposed to be afraid of loaded firearms found in strange places.

      Too bad the idiot that had it, loaded it, and dropped it in a public place filled with kids didn't show a little more fear of it.

      December 20, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • ZG

      Yes, TC, at the very least he should be flogged. But this isn't a sufficient reason to demonize guns.

      December 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Henry

      It doesn't say he was 'afraid' of the gun. He did exactly the best possible thing for the situation. It kept him safe and his peers. If it had been a gun used in a crime or about to be used in a crime his handling it would have corrupted evidence.

      December 20, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • ZG

      I'll corrupt your evidence

      December 20, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Smart Lady

    How about we leave this as a positive story and not turn this into a political "what if"!! Lets let these boys smart thinking be just that! They were smart and avoided a horrible thing!

    December 20, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dana

    It's pointless talk. Just take away guns from people. They aren't smart with them and are reckless. I will stay away from theaters now because there might be more nuts like this one coming in to see a movie with a gun. What this world came to?

    December 20, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
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