TUCSON, Ariz. - Local leaders and community members discussed the topic of responsible gun ownership at an event called "#URResponsible," on Tuesday night. Among the speakers were parents who'd lost their children, like Toni Solheid.
6 years ago to date...Toni Solheid’s daughter Genna Ayup was shot and killed by her boyfriend. Tonight, she speaks to an audience for the event #URResponsible, circled around negligent behavior with guns @kgun9pic.twitter.com/0JpZnN8mSz
In 2012, her daughter Genna Ayup was killed by her then-boyfriend Ronald Corbin Jr. Initial reports said he said he accidentally shot her. He later admitted to having several beers at the bar before the shooting that night. Months later, the Pima County Attorney's Office dropped his manslaughter charge.
"It's the negligence. That's what killed my daughter, is gun negligence," Solheid said. "There was no consequences, no one held responsible."
Six years to the date of her daughter's death, the discussion over gun negligence continues. Local leaders from the County Attorney's Office, Tucson Police Department, elected officials, and others took to the microphone to explain that the onus is on the gun owners to safely handle and store their weapons. They say that if gun owners don't do this and someone gets hurt or killed as a result, they should be prosecuted.
"People used to call these accidental discharges," TPD Assistant Chief Carla Johnson said. "That word accidental is misleading, because guns don't just go off by themselves. They don't just sit on the shelf and spontaneously go boom. People pull the trigger."
Jonathan Mosher is the Chief Trial Counsel for the Pima County Attorney's Office. He was there at the event to encourage people to take proper precautions with their weapons, to make sure they don't put others at risk. When it comes to prosecuting these kinds of cases, he says every case is different. However, the state has a clear definition of negligence.
"The law in Arizona is fairly clear and I think, well written. It defines criminal negligence as the failure to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk that a result may occur," Mosher said. "Criminal negligence, the whole idea, is you didn't even mean to kill someone, but you failed perceive a substantial, unjustifiable risk that the result would occur."
Solheid says, as she'll continue to seek justice for her daughter, Genna, she hopes people in the community will realize this:
"If you're careless with a gun and you hurt someone, that you're going to be responsible," Solheid said. "That's what people need to know, is that you need to take responsibility. Understand what can happen when you have a gun and you are careless."