A firearms tragedy in Florida

A boy has died in Florida after being accidentally shot by his own father.

Stephen Brumby, 14, died in hospital shortly after being shot at the High Noon Gun Range in Sarasota on Sunday.

Stephen’s 24-year-old brother David, the eldest of the seven Brumby children, was at the gun range with father William, Stephen and sister Kristin when the accident happened.

David Brumby told CBS News: “My dad was firing a .22 – just a little semi-automatic pistol – what happened was – the previous shot – the ejected casing – which is super-hot – bounced off the wall and ricocheted down my dad’s shirt.

“Because it was super-hot the knee-jerk reaction was to try to brush it off and he pulled the gun hand up and tried to brush it off him and the gun went off into the ceiling and ricocheted into my little brother Stephen.”

There’s more at the link.

That’s why any good instructor will emphasize to his or her students that they are to wear clothing appropriate for the shooting range, without loose or low-cut necklines (front or back) into which hot brass can fall.  I’ve done the “hot brass dance” myself more than once, and it’s no fun at all!  It’s guaranteed to break one’s concentration on matters of safety.  In this case, that had lethal consequences.

I don’t know how – or whether – the father will ever be able to live with himself over this.  It’s an absolute tragedy on every level.  It’s also guaranteed to be misused by those opposed to the private ownership of firearms, in an attempt to tar every gun and every gun owner with the same brush.  Be on your guard against such hysterical over-reactions.



  1. Truly, truly a sad situation.

    And I'm not trying to vilify him or make light of it, but this is exactly why "keep your booger hook off the bang switch until you're ready to fire" (and off the bang switch whenever you aren't firing) and "always keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction" exist. And "up" isn't always a safe direction.

    Familiarity BREEDS complacency. As firearms owners we MUST fight the safety complacency that comes with firearms familiarity. I've watched very experienced persons violate safety rules without realizing what they were doing. Because they got complacent. No matter how much it hurts – and I still have a mark on my arm from a .40 case landing on my clipboard and coming to a rest against my arm during my last class – that burn is NOT LIFE THREATENING, whereas anything you do with that firearm CAN BE.

  2. My experience at ranges is that people shooting 22's do not take them seriously. Once, at an outdoor range, a Grandfather, Father and 11-12 year old boy were passing a 22 pistol around with no concern for safety. I asked them to please put the weapon down on the counter and step away so I could pack up my stuff before someone got killed. They were offended and actually said, "It's just a 22".

    I made my children open the bolt and set the safety when we passed the Crossman 760 BB gun around.

  3. When I teach I take a lot of stuff to class: ear muffs, safety glasses, targets, the usual class displays, laptop with class slides and projector, a large trauma kit, dummy ammo, gun cleaning supplies, etc. Included in one of my "gun class boxes" is a couple packages of a dozen triangular bandages. Amazon sells a 12-pack of 40' X 40" X 56" for about $6. I order the 12-packs 6 at a time.

    When we hit the firing line for the live fire portion of the class ANYONE with a low cut top or unbuttonable open collar gets a triangular bandage to wear as a bib. If their collar can be buttoned closed, that's fine. Otherwise, it's a bib. Complaints are responded to with a question about their class confirmation email reply – the email I send out to confirm their seat requires a confirmation reply from them before I put their name on a seat, and in my email in bold type is:

    REMINDER: DO NOT WEAR LOW CUT TOPS OR OPEN COLLAR SHIRTS TO CLASS. Semi-automatic pistols eject hot brass cartridge cases several feet which can fall into low cut tops and open collars. If that happens you will receive a burn and be dangerously distracted.

    The student gets to keep the "bib" for future use and as a safety reminder. I really need to find someone who can print my class contact info on a bunch of them and write it off as business advertising….

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