2 fathers use their tragedies to educate on gun safety

Wednesday, February 27th 2008, 7:38 pm
By: News 9

By Charles Bassett, NEWS 9

Two Oklahoma fathers are using their own tragedies to educate parents and teens on gun safety. Both men lost their sons to accidental shootings two years ago.

They're now working with a state agency to spread their message.

"Well, Dalton was my first born child, very exuberant young man," James Dorsey said. "He just never set still a lot."

In April 2006, 15-year-old Dalton Dorsey was shot in the head and killed with his own rifle by one of his friends while on a camping trip.

Dalton's father, James, is now part of video produced by the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs on gun safety.

"I did not want it to be anti-gun, because I'm not that at all," Dorsey said. "I just wanted it to maybe bring some awareness to make people think a little farther before they make certain decisions."

The video is called "Son Safety," as in father and son, and stresses gun training, storing weapons and overall responsibility.

"We know in Oklahoma, guns are a part of the way of life," Director of the Office of Juvenile Affairs Gene Christian said. "We're not trying to change that so much as we're trying to say, if you're going to be a gun owner, you need to be a responsible gun owner."

Two months after Dalton Dorsey's death, 14-year-old Patrick Bowen was shot to death by a 10-year-old while playing cowboys and Indians at another home. The home had a total of 24 guns inside. Patrick's father is also in the video.

"Pat was very laid back, very outgoing," Bowen said. "I very rarely saw him in a bad mood."

Both fathers said it's not enough to train your own children about gun safety as they did, but your children's friends must also be trained and know that guns are real and can kill.

"As growing up in a rural setting, we're taught and trained from an early age," Dorsey said. "We're brought to know that they're not toys."