COLUMBUS -- Police are sharing a warning for parents and guardians after a Columbus girl was seen firing a gun in an Instagram video made viral largely after it was reposted by rapper 50 Cent. The gun appears to go off by accident. Luckily, nobody was hit.
Police said the most important thing parents should do is lock up their guns.
"There is no way that child is going to get that gun to operate with that lock in place," said Lt. Larry Yates. "Every gun is sold with a lock. They give those locks away. Anyone can get those gun locks."
If parents don't have a gun lock, they're urged to at the very least separate the gun from the ammunition.
"Obviously videos like that are disturbing to the police department," said Lt. Yates. "A juvenile isn't supposed to have a gun in the first place. You have to be 18 or 21 depending on the gun to own a gun."
Police said an officer spoke with the principal at Sherwood Middle School, where it appears the child is a student. Police said the student also posted several videos after the gun went off as she was playing with it.
A spokesperson for Columbus City Schools said the incident is not connected to the school whatsoever, but the principal did reach out to Columbus police after learning of the video.
"We partner with law enforcement in various ways to educate students on the issues of gun violence and safety, drugs, bullying and gangs, among other things they may face in their community," said Jacqueline Bryant of Columbus City Schools. "We encourage parents to have serious conversations on a regular basis about safety and the consequences that can result by putting themselves in an unsafe situation."
Police believe social media could play a role in a child's decision to do something like this.
"I think a lot of the things you see on social media ... the kids do that just so they can get a reaction and get it on video so people will watch it," Lt. Yates said. "I think most of the kids [who] are putting the videos on know they shouldn't be doing whatever they're doing on that video."
Police said there was no threat to the school, students or staff. And nobody was hurt. But unfortunately, these stories don't always have a positive ending. The gunfire can end in injury or death.
"It's a horrible scene to go to," Lt. Yates said."We have a lot of officers that go to those scenes. People don't take precautions with their firearms."