Mother advocates for guns to be secured in homes after her daughter's death

Chelsie Raidiger died June 14, 2009

TUCSON, Ariz. - A mother is advocating for gun owners to lock up guns in homes after her daughter took her own life with an unlocked weapon. 

Rebecca Sturman's daughter, Chelsie Raidiger, died almost ten years ago at 22-years-old.

Sturman says her daughter's boyfriend, an Oro Valley Police officer, was out of town when she used his duty weapon, to take her own life on June 14, 2009. Sturman says the gun was not locked or secured.

RELATED: Local gunsmith weighs in on thoughts to strengthen gun laws

Oro Valley Police Lt. Curtiss Hicks says the policy in 2009 for storing firearms while off duty was this:

"Members of the department shall at all times handle and safeguard firearms and other weapons consistent with the department training. Officers shall be responsible for the security of their weapons. Weapons shall not be left unattended in public view," Hicks said.

Oro Valley tightened their policy in 2015, but Hicks says that Raidiger's death is not the reason why. 

The new policy calls for firearms and ammunition to be locked and secured in homes and vehicles in a manner that will keep them inaccessible to children and others who should not have access. 

It further states that negligent storage of a firearm could result in civil liability.

Hicks could not comment on how the officer had stored his gun, but said he did not face any disciplinary action after Raidiger's death. 

RELATED: ‘End Family Fire' campaign highlights importance of gun safety in the home

Sturman believes if the current policy at the Oro Valley Police Department was in place in 2009, her daughter may still be alive today. Now, she is now advocating for gun owners to do their part in making sure they stay out of the wrong hands. 

"It's a good feeling knowing that hopefully, it will prevent another person from losing their life," Sturman said. "No matter what age they are because it's not easy to go through that everyday."

Raidiger's death is what motivated Tucson City Council Member Steve Kozachik to provide free gun locks to anybody who needs one.

Kozachik worked with the Tucson Police Department to implement a new policy in which officers must secure their duty weapons while off duty. The policy also states that firearms cannot be left in a vehicle during an officer's time off for more than 10 consecutive hours, and negligent storage could result in criminal and civil liability.

Marana Police follow a detailed policy that in part states: firearms are to be kept out of the reach of children and others and when not being carried, firearms are to be kept out of view and secured in a safe location at all times. 

The policy for the Pima County Sheriff's Department is more vague, in that firearm storage is not mentioned: "1. The care, cleaning, and security of personal and Department firearms and associated items issued to them 2. Reporting and returning to the Armorer any issued firearm that is not serviceable."

Print this article Back to Top