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4/22/2019 5:32:20 PM
Posted: 12/13/2003 1:12:27 PM EDT
Well, I debated about posting this at all, but decided the benefits of posting it outweigh any possible problems.

We received a call last night about someone getting shot. Here, in my small town, that's about a once in 25 year occurance. Myself and 2 other officers responded to find the victim had been shot in the back with a 12 gauge from about 2-3 feet distance. Needless to say, he was dead on the scene despite EMS attempts to intervene.

It is probably going to be accidental since all witnesses agree that the person holding the weapon was trying to clear it when it "went off" and there was no malicious intent. Needless to say, there is an important lesson here.

At least 3 of the 4 basic rules of gunhandling were ignored. The shotgun was pointed at the victim, all present ASSUMED the weapon was unloaded and, most likely, the person trying to clear the weapon had his finger on the trigger while doing so. That covers keeping your finger off the trigger, always assume all weapons are loaded and keeping the weapon pointed in a safe direction.

If any 1 of the 3 rules that were disobeyed had been obeyed, most likely the victim would be around and talking instead of in the morgue. If the weapon had been pointed in a safe direction and it "went off", the shot wouldn't have hurt anyone, besides some ear-ringing. If the weapon had been assumed to be loaded, hopefully the person clearing it would have been more careful. If the person clearing it had kept his finger off the trigger, it weapon could well have been loaded and it could, probably, still have been cleared at least semi-safely.

Guys and gals, just BE CAREFUL when dealing with weapons. I will be the first to admit to being rather cavalier about weapons at times, dealing with them on a daily basis as I do. No more. I've never had an AD or anything like it but, after seeing this, I realize that we ALL make mistakes from time to time. It's easy to do when running late for work, being preoccupied, whatever. It's just too bad someone had to die to have the rules of safe gunhandling drilled into our small department like this. Hopefully this expensive lesson will be learned and taken to heart by everyone here.

Bub
Link Posted: 12/13/2003 2:42:45 PM EDT
Thanks for the reminder, and for posting. ALL firearms owners can use a reminder. Stay Safe. Art in KY
Link Posted: 12/13/2003 3:33:01 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/13/2003 3:47:39 PM EDT
Ya know.... I wonder if as people get older, they forget, or just become more casual about stuff like this? I have noticed my father and grandfather (both were always very safe and taught me safety) make some serious mistakes recently. I have seen muzzle sweeps, fingers on the trigger, etc. It's so hard for me to point these out to my superiors.... but I am afraid not to as well.... for my own safety sometimes. I dont know if it is old age, or just lack of focus reminding yourself of the 4 rules, and being self aware.....
Link Posted: 12/13/2003 4:01:58 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Striker: Unfortunately a lot of those that have ND's also have the "I know what I'm doing, been around guns my whole life, it ain't loaded" attitude..
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...and that refers to a whole lot of us members here on this board.
Link Posted: 12/13/2003 5:34:13 PM EDT
Last week was my semi-yearly equipment inspection. My SGT checks all my serial numbers on all my equipment (weapons, cuffs, ballistic vest, etc.) Well while I was in his office, he asked to see my weapons. I'm one of the few that actually carries 2 sidearms, so I always get ribbed for that. So I go ahead, point my weapon in a safe direction, drop the mag, clear the chamber, lock the slide back and place it unloaded on the desk. I do the same with my back up gun. My Sarge, another Sarge and another officer watch me as I do this and at the same time, with big grins say, "You buff." I retorted, "you can't be too careful." Stories like this ingrain in deeper in my head to be as safe as possible.
Link Posted: 12/14/2003 5:34:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/14/2003 5:36:12 PM EDT by Striker]
Link Posted: 12/15/2003 10:12:49 AM EDT
I'm also in the same boat with the old-timers and superiors. I can get away with yelling at them since I'm one of the Instructors. When we have qualifications I'm FANATICAL about safety. We run a hot range, in that all weapons are always loaded and chambers charged since that's how they are carried on duty. We haven't had any horse-play that I know of since I started in 1991 but we do have a LOT of trouble with guys charging their weapons behind the line with people in front of them. BAD, BAD, BAD!!! Most of the offenders are the older guys and they get real pissy when they get yelled at. Oh, well. Get over it, we tell them. However, it's an accident waiting to happen. I just wish the Chief would back us up and either let us punish them or punish them himself. However, the Chief is one of the prime offenders. At home, I sometimes find myself doing the things I bitch about others doing. I'm REAL careful to keep my finger off the trigger (especially important since my duty and off-duty/back-up weapons are Glocks) but have caught myself unintentionally sweeping the wife. Every time I do, my blood runs cold and I let her hit me for it. Doesn't happen very often, mostly when I'm late for work or pre-occupied. Efforts are being taken to tighten up my muzzle discipline, as noted above by letting my wife hit me if either of us catch me doing it. So far, no accidents since all the other rules are followed. I do agree, however, with whoever said there are two types of shooters...those who have had an ND and those who haven't had them yet but will. If anyone's interested, I'll post the rest of the details and the autopsy results when they become public. Please don't ask before, it's still under investigation. Thanks for letting me ramble about this, I happen to think this is the MOST important part of gunhandling there is. If we can't SAFELY handle out weapons, we have NO business owning them. Bub
Link Posted: 12/15/2003 4:39:59 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Striker: Vinnie..were the two Sgt's carry overs from the wheelgun days? All I hear from our older CX during training on the 9mm carbines is..I wish we had the $@$@^&^ 12 guage back instead of this thing!!! Old habits are hard to break...
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No, actually it's because I work in a VERY slow house in Brooklyn South. Like I said, people make fun of the fact that I carry 2 pistols, have an additional plate in my body armor, and carry everything I'm suposed to and more. True, I'd be more at home in one of Brooklyn North's busy houses or maybe in the South Bronx, but these days no telling where an freak with a WMD may turn up, so I'm not taking any chances. Hopefuly they're right and I'm just being over cautious, but untill then, I'll pack heavy.
Link Posted: 12/15/2003 4:41:08 PM EDT
BTW, they stopped making fun of the fact that I carry 2 flashlights after the blackout [:D]
Link Posted: 12/23/2003 12:59:38 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Striker: Unfortunately a lot of those that have ND's also have the "I know what I'm doing, been around guns my whole life, it ain't loaded" attitude..
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double tap.. .. ..
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