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Gun owner not liable in Rock Falls teen's death

STERLING – The parents of a boy facing a felony charge in the March 1 death of his best friend won’t be charged because they did not break the law, Whiteside County State’s Attorney Trish Joyce said.

Brady Osborne, 16, is charged with reckless conduct after a gun he was showing to 15-year-old Matt Anderson discharged into Anderson’s chest. The accident happened at Osborne’s home in Rock Falls. His father, Troy Osborne, is an Illinois State Police trooper.

Asked in a email whether a parent could face charges for leaving a gun unlocked in the home, Joyce referred Sauk Valley Media to a state law governing how adults are required to store guns around minors.

According to 720 ILCS 5/24-9, a gun must be secured if a child on the premises is younger than 14. The penalty is a misdemeanor charge with a minimum $1,000 fine.

Brady Osborne was 15 at the time, so the person storing the gun did not break the law.

It’s not clear who owned the Glock handgun, and Joyce din not respond to a second email seeking that information.

Were Brady Osborne being tried as an adult, reckless conduct would carry the minimum felony sentence, 1 to 3 years in prison.

Because he is a juvenile, he faces, among other things, probation or incarceration with the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, until he turns 21. His next court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 22.

Sauk Valley Media is publishing his name because he is charged with a felony in an incident involving a death.

What the law says

According to the Illinois Complied Statutes, and specifically, 720 ILCS, Sec. 24-9. Firearms; Child Protection: 

(a) Except as provided in subsection (c), it is unlawful for any person to store or leave, within premises under his or her control, a firearm if the person knows or has reason to believe that a minor under the age of 14 years who does not have a Firearm Owners Identification Card is likely to gain access to the firearm without the lawful permission of the minor's parent, guardian, or person having charge of the minor, and the minor causes death or great bodily harm with the firearm, unless the firearm is: 

(1) secured by a device or mechanism, other than the firearm safety, designed to render a firearm temporarily inoperable; or

(2) placed in a securely locked box or container; or 

(3) placed in some other location that a reasonable person would believe to be secure from a minor under the age of 14 years.

(b) Sentence. A person who violates this Section is guilty of a Class C misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than $1,000. A second or subsequent violation of this Section is a Class A misdemeanor. 

(c) Subsection (a) does not apply: 

(1) if the minor under 14 years of age gains access to a firearm and uses it in a lawful act of self-defense or defense of another; or

(2) to any firearm obtained by a minor under the age of 14 because of an unlawful entry of the premises by the minor or another person.


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