Boy, 3, Shoots Dad After Finding Loaded Hand Gun

Authorities in Indiana are investigating a tragic shooting which left a father of three dead after one of his young children found the gun and it discharged.

Michael A. Bayless, 33, of Martinsville, Ind., was home with his wife, three children and another juvenile family member, according to Indiana State Police Sgt. Jerry Goodin.

Bayless was watching television with his two other children when the 3-year-old found the .45-caliber hand gun which accidently discharged mortally striking Bayless, according to Goodin, who added that Bayless was the registered owner of the gun.

Police reports indicate that Bayless brought the gun with him to a home he was remodeling in Salem, about 25 miles northwest of Louisville, Ky.

Goodin says that while the case is a "tragic accident and a tragic mistake" the case remains under investigation and prosecutors will determine if any adult should face charges.

Police would not reveal the exact location of the gun due to the ongoing investigation, but it was "clearly accessible to the child," and a child that age can "absolutely" fire a gun, Goodin said.

There currently is no specific statute in Indiana regarding gun storage or safety that specifically addresses such an incident.

In cases like this "common rules of negligence apply," Paul Stanko, a criminal defense attorney, told the Courier-Journal, adding: "We don't have any specific firearm storage requirements."

According to the National Rifle Association, guns can be found in about half of all houses in the United States.

The NRA recommends gun owners take gun safety courses while also advising that guns should be stored in a secure location away from children.

"Make sure you keep all loaded weapons out of reach of children," Goodin said, adding that there are many options available to help parents store guns more safely.