HOUSTON — KHOU has verified that the confessed gunman in the deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School used a shotgun and .38 revolver, which were bought legally by his father. So, can his dad be criminally charged in the deadly massacre?
The State of Texas has at least two laws on the books concerning this issue.
Section 46.13 of the Penal Code, Making a Firearm Accessible to a Child, punishes people if they allow a child access to a gun.
However, under this law, a “child” is defined as someone under 17 years old. The confessed gunman in this case is 17.
The second law, Section 46.06 of the Penal Code, Unlawful Transfer of Certain Weapons, sounds similar but is different. It makes “intentionally or knowingly” giving any gun to someone under 18 illegal.
However, David Kwok, an assistant professor at the University of Houston Law Center, says the law features language that can allow parental consent unless that parent knew the kid was planning to use the gun to commit a crime.
Kevin Petroff, Assistant District Attorney with the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office, the agency filing charges in the Santa Fe High School shooting case, said prosecutors have not made a final determination on whether additional charges would be filed.
Petroff also declined to answer questions on how the confessed shooter obtained the weapons and whether his father was aware of any plans to commit a crime, citing the ongoing investigation.
KHOU 11 can verify that it’s possible the suspect’s father could be charged, but we cannot verify whether or not it will happen because there are still too many unanswered questions.
Gerald Treece, KHOU's legal analyst, says even if the suspect’s father is not charged, he still could face a civil lawsuit.