Gun owner may be held responsible for girl's shooting



TACOMA, Wash. -  

 A judge will hear an interesting case in Tacoma about whether a gun owner can be held responsible for a shooting, even if he wasn't there.


The case involves an 8-year-old girl who was hit by a bullet at school.


The shooting occurred at Armin Jahr Elementary in Bremerton in February.


Amina Kocer-Bowman was shot when a gun inside a classmate's backpack went off.


Police said boy stole the gun from the home where he lived with his mother and her boyfriend, Douglas Bauer.


Prosecutors said the gun belonged to Bauer.


Bauer was charged with assault.  Prosecutors said Bauer was criminally negligent for leaving the loaded gun in a place where the boy could find it.


Bauer's attorney appealed the charges and on Monday, the case will go before an appellate judge.


One of the arguments from the defense is that while other states, such as California and Florida, have specific statutes that can hold a gun owner responsible in a similar case, Washington does not.


The defense said prosecutors don't have the authority to make the assault charge.


Prosecutors said they think their case is solid.


The judge will begin hearing arguments Monday morning, but it is not known if the judge will make a ruling Monday or at a later date.