I'm amazed there are not MORE firearm accidents in this world...
A couple of weeks ago I shared a story of a man who could have potentially shot himself, much less someone else, while carelessly handling a loaded firearm (you can read the account here).
I have erroneously assumed that such incidents would be isolated occurrences and while I may encounter the frighteningly armed individual at another time it would not be soon or often.
Today, I was proved horrifically wrong by encountering not one but three safety breeches.
In order to understand the severity of the stupidity of the offenders let’s remind ourselves of the four basic rules of gun safety credited to Jeff Cooper.
Treat all guns as if they were loaded.
Never point the gun at anything you do not wish to destroy.
Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on your target.
Be sure of your target and what is beyond.
My day started as any other day at the range with people eagerly awaiting the moment when we open our doors.
Within the first half hour after opening I had already sold one gun and was grooming another young man for the purchase of a Springfield 1911.
He looked it over, obviously impressed by its design, weight, trigger and brand. He dropped the slide on what he and I knew to be an empty chamber and summoned his wife to share his glee.
“Honey, come look at this.” He shouted.
A woman approached who looked both unhappy, uncomfortable and uncooperative.
He handed her the gun (slide down, hammer back, safety disengaged) and said, “What do you think?”
Without a moment’s hesitation she pointed it right at his chest, narrowed her eyes and said, “Yeah! It’ll do.”
While he and I both knew the gun was empty, both of our faces registered our shock and distaste. She pointed a weapon she had not cleared at something I HOPE she was not willing to destroy.
I asked for the weapon back while he spoke in a sharp tone to her about her recent carelessness.
He bought the Springfield as she marched off to sit in the car.
I don’t wish to know what kind of conversation they had on their way home.
The second incident in one day was when a group of hooligans brought in their 9mm for a little target practice. Coincidentally, I recognized these to be the same three young men who I had encountered a few weeks ago and humbled with a Desert Eagle (you can read about that, here).
This time, instead of coming in with his gun on his hip, as he had the last time he had visited our range, he came in carrying it in a shoulder holster. However, he did not wear the shoulder holster, he held it in his hands, swinging free as a small child might carry a book bag or a toy on a string.
He plopped the gun on the counter pointing it directly at a fellow employee who just happened to be range officer at the time.
My fellow employee grabbed the gun and twisted it away from his body while sharply saying, “DO NOT point that at me.”
The gun was examined and proved to be empty, but the fact remained that it was still being pointed at another human being.
Apparently they did not learn their lesson as when they came out of the range the offense was repeated again, except this time the person staring at the firing end of the barrel was me.
Again, the gentleman was reminded of his muzzle control.
I wonder how many times it will take before it sticks.
The last, and most heart stopping offense was when a new customer came in to the range to try out a new 9mm and put a few rounds through a seasoned handgun.
A asked what handgun he was shooting and when he could not give me make or model, I asked to see the weapon.
He pulled out a Springfield XD-9 and swept it across both myself and the same employee who had just reminded the other young man about muzzle control.
I took the gun from him and just as it left his hands he said, “Don’t worry. It’s not loaded.”
I racked the slide and a round spat from the chamber and landed on the counter top.
Both myself and my colleague looked up at him sharply as he put his hands over his mouth and said, “OH SH**! I had no idea that was there!”
Sometimes it purely amazes me that there are not MORE firearm accidents, and while I certainly would never wish such an accident to happen to anyone, I quiver at the thought of these people generally handling firearms.
Just when I thought I’ve seen it all, someone double wields and rabid fires a Glock 17 and an XD-9 hitting the ceiling and the walls. Someone else tries to rapid fire a Desert Eagle .50 AE and ends up dropping the gun. Another individual screams and drops his gun after getting a good dose of slide bite from a poor grip.
I love my job, but I certainly hope I don’t get shot doing it!