COLUMBUS, Ohio (WBNS) — A Columbus man has pleaded guilty to charges relating to storing a firearm and endangering a child.
Matthew Rivas was charged in the first case involving the city of Columbus’ new safe storage ordinance, according to City Attorney Zach Klein’s office.
The city attorney’s office released a video showing two children playing in a common living room. One of them is seen reaching into a couch cushion, pulling out a firearm and discharging it.
Rivas walked into the room with two other people and found the firearm on the couch. The weapon was then discharged once more.
No physical injuries were reported. The city attorney’s office said the child was nearly struck by a bullet and caused burn and short-term hearing loss.
“As a father, the images of a small child reaching into a couch cushion, finding a loaded firearm and discharging the weapon nearly pointed at his face are almost too chilling to watch,” said Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein. “There’s nothing wrong with responsible gun ownership, but leaving an unsecured gun around the house for kids to find is not responsible. That’s why it’s important that the City passed its safe storage law, and why we will continue to defend our right to enact commonsense measures to keep our kids and communities safe. Too often, these incidents end in tragedy, but the fact is they are almost always preventable.”
Rivas entered a guilty plea in Franklin County Municipal Court for two counts of negligent storage of a firearm and one count of child endangerment.
He will spend 10 days in and 170 days in jail suspended, face a $150 fine, two years of probation and be mandated to confiscate and destroy the firearm used in the incident. Additionally, Rivas cannot own, possess or use a firearm during the probation period.
The sentence was a joint recommendation between the judge and the mother of the two children.
This case comes amid multiple lawsuits being pushed by the state and the Buckeye Institute against the city’s recently passed gun safety ordinances.
The legislation includes measures to require safe storage of firearms in homes so that minors cannot access the weapons. It also places limits on high-capacity magazines and lays out steps to make it easier for prosecutors to go after individuals who sell firearms to those otherwise prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm, including those convicted of domestic violence.