Gun violence in the US

Child, 6, fires handgun in Indiana Ikea store after finding it in sofa cushions

Although Ikea has a no-guns policy, Indiana has some of the most pro-gun laws in the United States

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 June, 2018, 10:06am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 June, 2018, 11:26am

Ikea has long been known as a massive one-stop warehouse for everything from assemble-it-yourself bunk beds to artificial potted plants to Swedish meatballs.

On Monday, one child found something a little different at an Ikea store in Fishers, Indiana, a suburb of Indianapolis: a handgun inside a sofa.

The firearm had apparently fallen into the cushions after its owner sat down on the couch, Sergeant Tom Weger of the Fishers Police Department told The Washington Post.

“He sat down and somehow or another it became dislodged from his body and when he got up he didn’t realise that he was without it,” Weger said.

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After “just a few minutes,” a six-year-old child found the gun and fired it at least once into the couch cushions, Weger said. It was then the gun owner noticed his gun was missing.

Being a knucklehead is not a crime in Indiana, or in most place. I actually doubt there will be criminal charges filed
Lawyer Guy Relford

“As soon as he realised that there was a commotion in the store, the gun owner quickly identified himself … and fully cooperated with the investigation,” Weger said.

In a statement, Ikea said it had apologised to the family of the child and was taking the incident seriously.

“We have processes in place to ensure that the store is safe for customers and co-workers. For example, our store team has regular safety walks and audits which happen before, during and after opening hours,” the company stated.

“As soon as we were made aware of the situation, our co-workers took the action they were trained to do to ensure the safety of customers.

“We are cooperating with police as they investigate this incident.”

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No arrests were made on Monday, but the Hamilton County prosecutor’s office will decide if criminal charges are warranted, Weger said.

“We’re just very fortunate that no one was injured and we want to press the importance of responsible gun ownership and making certain that, if you are going to carry a weapon, that it’s under control at all times,” Weger said.

Although Ikea says it has a no-weapons policy “to prevent exactly these types of situations,” Indiana has some of the most pro-gun laws in the United States.

“Indiana has a strong [concealed-carry] law with low fees, no training requirement and full recognition of out-of-state permits,” according to a ranking in Guns & Ammo magazine. “Open carry is also legal in the Hoosier State.”

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Evaluating those same gun laws, the Giffords Law Centre to Prevent Gun Violence has given Indiana a “D-” grade, pointing out that in 2016, the state had the 18th highest rate of gun deaths per capita in the nation.

Lawyer Guy Relford told WTTV News that violating Ikea’s no-weapons policy in Indiana would not be considered illegal and that it would be difficult to prove criminal recklessness in this case.

“Being a knucklehead is not a crime in Indiana, or in most places,” Relford told the news station. “I actually doubt there will be criminal charges filed.”