Negligent Discharges

Negligent Discharges

This is a discussion on Negligent Discharges within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I've always heard that there is no such thing as an accidental discharge, it's always a negligent discharge, particularly the way modern firearms are designed ...

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Thread: Negligent Discharges

  1. #1
    Member Array RiptheJacker's Avatar
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    Jun 2007

    Negligent Discharges

    I've always heard that there is no such thing as an accidental discharge, it's always a negligent discharge, particularly the way modern firearms are designed with the safeties most modern guns incorporate.

    Here's my question: Have any of you ever experienced a ND? What did you do after the ND? Assuming no one is hurt, are you supposed to call the police? Will you be charged with discharging a firearm without proper justification in an area where discharging is prohibited? Is a ND likely to get your permit revoked in some states?

    I am new to guns, and very new to carrying in general. Since carrying means that you will be routinely exposed to firearms, the chances of you making a ND go up (especially for newbies like myself without years of experience like many of you have).

    I'm concerned that one of these days, one of the thousand times I'm handling my handgun, I'll make a mistake and forget/fail to exercise proper gun safety and a ND will happen. My question/concern is not to prevent an ND per se, but what happens after the ND has occurred? I read a state attorney from my home state, CT, who specializes in firearms cases state that having a ND is one of the best ways to get your permit revoked. This has got me thinking, and worried. In a state like mine, if the police/local issuing authority find you to be a person "unsuitable" to possess a permit they can revoke the permit from you. I'm sure a ND, if the police arrive at your home, could very well qualify as that attorney has cautioned. My home state of CT is not very gun friendly.

    So, what to do? You have a ND. Everyone is okay. Do you wait for the neighbors to call the cops? Do you call the cops? Do you keep your mouth shut? Do you risk lying when the cops come to the door, or ask questions? Are you screwed?

    Any advice/suggestions/experience appreciated. Thanks!
    "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."
    --Thomas Jefferson

  2. #2
    Member Array Chaddae52's Avatar
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    I would prolly call non-emergency and let them know that I had a ND and that everyone is ok. They'll send a unit out to knock on the door and check things out. Better for the cops to know what happened before they get a call from a neighbor screaming about how they are in a war zone and BULLETS AND BOMBS ARE FLYING EVERYWHERE! lol j/k. Every cop is different, but every cop will get a little edgy when responding to a random gunshot call in a neighborhood.

    You can call and come clean so that the cops aren’t surprised when they get there. Or, you can hope no one heard the shot, or did and didn’t think anything of it, and see if it blows over. Option 2 might bring some flared ups cops if someone does call though.
    "Like a muddied spring or polluted well is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked." -Proverbs 25:26

    "If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed..." -Exodus 22:2

  3. #3
    Distinguished Member Array P7fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chaddae52 View Post
    I would prolly call non-emergency and let them know that I had a ND and that everyone is ok.
    You go right ahead.

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  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by P7fanatic View Post
    You go right ahead.
    ALWAYS carry! - NEVER tell!

    "A superior Operator is best defined as someone who uses his superior
    judgement to keep himself out of situations that would require a display of his
    superior skills."

  6. #5
    VIP Member (Retired Staff) Array P95Carry's Avatar
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    First off - the four rules - the four rules - the four rules - the four rules.

    Did I mention .. the four rules!!! While an ND can occur it is almost unforgiveable if safety habits are maintained. If you have one of course the location of the event is all important .... and that will influence any outcome.

    I have had two over 30 years and more. First one was on the line at a competition - in the ready position and waiting for targets to turn. Finger on trigger prematurely (rule #3) and fired into ground. Rule #2 was in effect so no harm done - other than being disqualified for the stage!

    Second time was a 20G shottie ..... didn't properly inspect chamber for clear - pulled trigger and boom down in basement.! Rule #2 again saved the day and shot hit floor.

    My carelessness did no harm but it did act as a very salutary reminder - complacency from years of shooting had crept in ... but I'll say as I often do - if only rule #2 is the survivor of all applied safety rules - no one gets hurt. Pride mends
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!." - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

  7. #6
    Member Array Texian's Avatar
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    West Texas
    I am not a lawyer and these are just my opinions for whatever they are worth:

    Quote Originally Posted by RiptheJacker
    My question/concern is not to prevent an ND per se, but what happens after the ND has occurred?
    This sounds to me like you are saying that you have done everything possible to learn safe firearm handling procedures and practiced them to the point that they are instinctive (like opening your mouth before sticking the fork in). If that is not what you are saying, then you are focused on the wrong priority. After you have committed to whatever it takes to do the above, then it is time to consider what to do if the unthinkable happens.

    Quote Originally Posted by RiptheJacker
    So, what to do? You have a ND. Everyone is okay.
    You imply by saying "Everyone is okay" that you know what to do, that is; Ascertain if your negligence has caused death, injury or property damage.

    Your assumption was it did not. In that case, you write up your own after-action report and plan how you will prevent another occurrence. If instead of "Everyone is okay," your negligence caused death, injury or proerty damage, you are morally and legally responsible to take ownership of your actions; but, get competent legal counsel first.

    Quote Originally Posted by RiptheJacker
    Do you wait for the neighbors to call the cops?
    No, if they need to be called, you call them but I would not say anything more than "there was an accident, I will gladly cooperate and answer questions when my attorney is present.

    Quote Originally Posted by RiptheJacker
    Do you risk lying when the cops come to the door, or ask questions?
    NO! NO! NO! NEVER EVER LIE TO THE POLICE!! It is a crime in most jurisdictions to do so and it will hopelessly prejudice your defense to any criminal charge that may be lodged against you.
    "The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him." G.K. Chesterton

  8. #7
    VIP Member Array aus71383's Avatar
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    Assuming the that chances of an ND go up when having guns around a lot doesn't make sense to me. If you are around guns a lot and you follow the 4 (5 some say) weapons safety rules, you will not have any "NDs". If you are not around guns a lot, and you don't know what you're doing, IMO the chances of an ND go up.

    I was at a Marksmanship Instructor's course a few years ago and there was an ND on the line....while we were dry firing. Wow. That guy got booted.

    It will always be 100% your fault if the gun fires - keep that in mind. If you want to be the type of person that shirks responsibility to try to avoid consequences, go right ahead.


  9. #8
    Senior Member Array mocarryguy's Avatar
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    Handled firearms since I was nine. That is 41 years, no issues. Learned the rules young, they were repeated every time I touched that firearm. I continue to follow those rules today. It is like when I reload. Everyone else is required to leave, just me and the components. Focus on the task at hand, rules, adhere and you will have no issues. It is when you think you know everything and don't make mistakes when Mr. Murphy will bite you in the rear. You of course don't want to go there. Luck.
    PS. +1 on calling the police...if you want problems, do just that.
    I know, I know, you are smarter than me..just ask you..

  10. #9
    Member Array TexasGeezer's Avatar
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    Jul 2007
    See This Thread on another forum for a recent ND at a Houston gun show. Feel free to wade in with comments.
    There are no answers --- only choices.

  11. #10
    Distinguished Member
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    ND discharge

    Back about 30 years ago I owned a Jennings 22 auto loader (basically an expensive fishing line weight) anyhow had the gun on safe and was racking the side in the house with a full magazine , ya I know not very bright, back to story, when I let go of the slide it went BANG !!! Totaled out my wife's mother-in-law's large mirror in the hall-way. Mom wasn't too mad , no one hurt. But the shell casing did NOT have a single mark on it, really don't know why it went off outside of the side just hitting the rim-fire primer.

    We lived out of town so I did not have to worry about neighbors.


  12. #11
    Ex Member Array fludy12's Avatar
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    I stupidly performed one ND inside my house a long time ago in FL. I'd never call the police voluntarily if the round was stopped harmlessly. They may show up to a neighbors house who called, but who can say for certain where a single shot came from? If the cops show up, then they show up. I sure as heck don't need to be calling them. Self incrimination? Don't think so.

    I recall a story of a man who discharged a rifle in his house (no bodily injury) and called the police to report the "report" before anyone else did. Kind of like that "those who call 911 first will be the most believed" mentality...

    He was promptly arrested and convicted of discharging a firearm within city limits. I think he lost the rifle permanently, too.

    As for an AD, I HAVE had those before. All the basic firearm rules were being followed...on a range...muzzle/sights on target...and the firearm malfunctioned thereby dumping the entire magazine. This was when I was in the military, using an issued weapon, and the maintenance was out of my control. I had NO warning that the pistol would malfunction and expend more than one round in a single trigger pull.

    Were rounds unintentionally fired? Yes, but not due to negligence on my part, no one was hurt, and all rounds went down range into the backstop. I've had a .22 cal pistol slam fire on me as well. Finger out of the trigger guard and chambering the first round. It was a friend's very old Ruger MkII .22.

    edited to add: To the OP, I also currently live in CT due to work and have my CT pistol permit to carry. Were I to have a ND here, I would definitely NOT call the state "storm" troopers or local police unless there was bodily injury of some kind (they'll find out anyway at that point). Since you're in CT, do you notice all the fireworks going off all the time during the summer? Sure is that way in Naugatuck. A "no harm" ND would blend into that so why call the cops? Again, they'll show up if they need to (or called) so don't make it easier for a "show" by reporting a mistake. Suck it up and fix the damage to the house, TV, etc if it happens.

    I'd be more scared of the wife at that point!

  13. #12
    Member Array General Geoff's Avatar
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    As fludy12 stated, ADs can occur, they're just exceedingly rare, and do not happen with properly functioning firearms. ADs are pretty much always due to mechanical malfunction.

    NDs are due to human error.
    Discretion is the better part of valour; and a virtue beyond reproach.
    Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association

  14. #13
    Member Array Ten_Ring's Avatar
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    Washington County Alabama
    They happen, I've never had one, but if I did I would NEVER report myself.

    Defensor Fortis
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    Aduentes Fortuna Juvat
    Libertatem Defendimus

  15. #14
    Member Array CharlieMike's Avatar
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    Three factors would determine if I would call the police:

    - Was anyone injured?
    - Did the round leave my property?
    - Did the neighbors hear it?

    If "yes" to any of those, I'd call the police ASAP and take whatever lumps I get.

    Quote Originally Posted by aus71383 View Post
    Assuming the that chances of an ND go up when having guns around a lot doesn't make sense to me.
    It makes complete sense. If you don't have a firearm around, it doesn't matter if you ignore/forget the rules.

  16. #15
    Senior Member
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    I've been shooting since I was 12 years old. I am now 65 and have been lucky enough to never have experienced an ND or AD. But, I still believe in the old analogy regarding shooters. That is there are two types:

    1. Shooters that have had an ND or AD.
    2. Shooters that will one day experience an ND or AD.

    As P95Carry very succinctly put it....the four rules....the four rules....the four rules....the four rules.

    Don't let complacency get you out of the habit of thinking about and following them.
    "Society never advances. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other. It undergoes continual change; but this change is not [an improvement]. For everything that is given, something is taken."
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

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