SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah authorities say a woman won’t be charged with reckless endangerment after leaving a loaded gun on a baby changing table in a suburban Salt Lake City aquarium bathroom.
Prosecutors said Sunday the charge doesn’t apply because the woman didn’t purposely put people in danger by leaving the weapon behind.
Police say she put the .380-caliber pistol on the folded-up changing table to use the bathroom at the Living Planet Aquarium July 10 but was distracted by her children on the way out and forgot it. Draper police Sgt. Scott Adams told the Deseret News that the owner of the pistol was “extremely upset and embarrassed.”
Police originally said they didn’t plan to press charges but changed course after the decision sparked outrage from parents at the Living Planet Aquarium.
Alyssa Fujimoto said she found the weapon and called police when she tried to change her newborn baby with her 4-year-old son in tow.
“My child who came in with me, he usually opens the changing table for me, and this time, he was using the restroom while I went in,” Fujimoto told Deseret News. “So I went to open it, and if it would’ve fallen, it was loaded, who knows?”
Another mother, Crystal Mundt, told the Salt Lake Tribune that she rushed out of the bathroom with her two children when she saw the gun.
“You don’t expect to have to do a weapons sweep before entering a bathroom adjacent to a child’s play area,” Mundt told the newspaper. She called it “unbelievable” that a loaded gun could be unattended without even a citation.
The aquarium posts signs forbidding weapons, but it’s unclear whether the policy is legally enforceable. Concealed weapons are allowed in places like public schools in Utah.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill told the Salt Lake Tribune the case exposes a gap in state law, adding that he’ll send the case to city prosecutors for a possible lesser charge, like trespassing by violating the aquarium’s posted ban on guns.
Written by The Associated Press.
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