Gun Debate: Gun Owners and Child Fatalities

Todd Francis faces four years in prison after a gun he owned killed his daughter's friend.
3:00 | 02/14/14

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Transcript for Gun Debate: Gun Owners and Child Fatalities
And next right here tonight, for the first time, you're going to hear from a man who just appeared in a San Diego courtroom, on a question reaching into every American neighborhood, he's a dad who was there because he stored a gun in his home, where children could get to it, for the past year, we have been investigating a tough fact -- on average, every third day in America, a child dies in an accidental shooting. So, the question tonight, if that happens, should the gun's owner be sent to prison. Reporter: This week, Todd Francis, a father who once had a career as a computer specialist, stood in court pleading guilty. Guilty. Reporter: Two counts of endangering a child. You permitted the children to be in danger. Yes, your honor. Reporter: And Francis, who says he decided to keep a gun at home in case of criminals, now faces prison himself. I'm still in shock. I just came home and I had groceries in my hands. Reporter: A father in an ordinary neighborhoods who came home and saw police in front of his garage. It was like every police squad car was in my neighborhood. Reporter: The garage with the sofa where children came to play, and the box where he says he kept an unloaded gun, but prosecutors say that gun was loaded. His 9-year-old daughter and her 10-year-old friend Eric got a hold of it, and it went off. 10-year-old Eric klyez was shot to death. I mean, Eric was only 10. Reporter: Francis says he didn't really know that much about guns, and that, in fact, he got it because of what he had seen on TV. San Diego has had some home invasions. You hear about it. On TV, and, um, it -- it just terrified me to think that, you know, somebody could break into my house. Reporter: His house is in California, one of 14 states that the owner is liable if the gun isn't stored safely. To people who say "If parents are not held accountable, this will keep happening." I feel horrible about what happened. I do feel accountable. Reporter: Adults facing plgts that range from a fine to decades if prison. Though, Todd Francis said no prinlz prison could be worse than he already lives after the accident, his wife who says she didn't know he was keeping a gun, left him, taking the children with him. He hasn't seen his son or daughter thinks. What do you most want to hear her say? You know, it's okay, daddy. Reporter: The human message for everybody watching you is -- Keep your guns locked, and don't assume that you're in control of your household. And Todd Francis could face up to four years in state prison, the sentencing is in April.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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