7-year-old boy gets hands on keys to gun safe, shoots father dead as he slept

ALMA, Michigan -- A family in Michigan is in mourning after police say a seven-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his own father. The tragedy is serving as a sobering reminder of the importance of gun safety.

"I ain't trying to put the blame on anyone, but if a seven-year-old can get a firearm, they need to realize that that's not legal," Trevor Connor, a neighbor said.

It happened Friday morning, July 8th.

Police say the seven-year-old boy found the keys to the family gun safe and began playing with a rifle. He shot his father dead in his sleep.

It's a sad situation, certainly, but Doug Williams with Dick Williams Gun Shop said it's a familiar one.

"We hear this on a weekly basis around the state and we want to keep children and other people safe," Williams said.

Williams said there are many ways to ensure your guns don't end up in the wrong hands.

"A simple cable lock that can be taken and used on a handgun, a semi-automatic handgun as such, and you can also use on a revolver," Williams said.

Williams said for every gun he sells, he provides the buyer with a gun lock. He also sells locks that cover the trigger on the rifles -- so they cannot be fired.

It's not clear in the Alma situation whether the shotgun had a lock on it. It was in a gun safe, and police say the child found the keys to that safe.

Williams said families need to hide these keys somewhere a child cannot access. There are also other types of safes that use combinations that are safer.

"As a gun owner, it's your responsibility to have it locked up in a safe place at home," Williams said.

Connor said he feels terrible for the Alma family, but said this should be a reminder to people to keep their guns locked up and out of the reach of children.

"Take the right precautions. There are laws with the firearms, how they're supposed to be safely kept and obviously that was not safely kept," Connor said.

Police are investigating.

Neighbors said the boy and his family moved into their home less than a year ago.