Rural children grow up around guns, and the rifle used in the shooting was made specifically for children, writes Loller and Lovan. Cumberland County Coroner Gary White said what's more unusual than a child having a gun is "that a kid would get shot with it."
Cumberland County Judge-Executive John Phelps said, "It's a normal way of life, and it's not just rural Kentucky, it's rural America -- hunting and shooting and sport fishing. It starts at an early age. There's probably not a household in this county that doesn't have a gun." The county has about 7,000 people. (Read more)
The young boy "had a lethal weapon in his hands because that rifle, and tens of thousands like it, are designed, made and marketed to appeal to the 'youth market' with images much like many that would likely be placed at the grave of a two-year-old girl," the Lexington Herald-Leader says in an editorial.
The recent failure of legislation to require universal background checks for gun purchases hinged on senators from states with large rural populations. It may be revived with an exemption that would exempt residents who live hundreds of miles from a gun dealer, which we wrote about here when it was first proposed.