There still are lots of questions surrounding the accidental shooting of 6 year old Brandon Holt of Toms River by a 4 year old playmate who had access to a loaded 22 caliber rifle.

The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office has taken over the investigation due to a conflict of interest over the 4 year olds family being involved in law enforcement in Ocean County. (The boy’s grandfather was a cop in Jackson.)

In the meantime, the rest of us wait for answers as to what will be done, while the family of Brandon Holt makes funeral arrangements. (They’ve already made plans to donate his organs.)

For the Holts, their focus now is on Brandon’s funeral Mass, set for 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Joseph’s Church, 685 Hooper Ave., here.

But even as they struggle with their grief, the Holts are looking for some good to come out of the tragedy. That’s why his parents have decided to donate their son’s organs.

“Me and my wife, we both decided it would help carry his name that he is helping somebody,” Ron Holt said. “We didn’t want to, but we felt he could do some good.”
But the family wants to do more.

Randy Holt, 39, of Toms River, created a Brandon Holt Memorial Fund. The family is deciding what the foundation will do.

But Brandon’s mother, Christine, wants to stop gun violence from touching any other family’s life.

“(Christine Holt) has a lot of strong feelings with it, and she is getting passionate with the gun control,” said Randy Holt. “And if she can assist other families (who are) going through tragedies. ...”

Regarding that, the statutes on the books that pertain to unsecured weapons amount to nothing more than a disorderly persons offense.

When a 4 year old has access to a firearm and somehow is able to shoot it causing injury and death; someone other than the 4 year old has to be held accountable, and it has to be for more than a disorderly person.

The head of an anti-gun violence advocacy group said more shootings involving children will occur if adults aren’t prosecuted under the state’s law that prevents child access to guns.

Bryan Miller, formerly with Ceasefire NJ and currently executive director of Philadelphia-based Heeding God’s Call, said the shooting of a 6-year-old Toms River boy by his 4-year-old neighbor should compel lawmakers to strengthen requirements on safely storing guns.

Miller also said he doubts adults responsible for making the weapon available in the Toms River incident will be charged.

According to the national Children’s Defense Fund, there are no federal laws that prevent child access to guns.

New Jersey is among the 27 states with their own laws designed to prevent children from accessing firearms.

“We already have child-access gun laws in New Jersey but unfortunately prosecutors very seldom, if ever, charge adults who leave guns around,’’ Miller said. “They make the judgment the family has suffered enough. But if you don’t use the law, you do nothing to deter the next instance. If an adult left a gun around that a 4-year-old got to, that person should be charged for breaking the law.’’

However if the law as written is merely to charge the person with a disorderly person’s offense, it seems to be a mere slap on the wrist.

The law needs to be toughened and enforced. (Emphasis on the “and enforced.”)

Also, some will say that a gun locked away is worthless if it’s needed in an emergency.

If unsecured, however, theoretically it also becomes a weapon for the intruder to use against the owner.

Do we need to hear about more Brandon Holts who’ve become victims because supposed “responsible” gun owners didn’t follow the laws on the books and secure their firearms?

Does the law requiring gun owners to secure their weapons go far enough?