Negligence with a gun produces yet another serious injury

I was sorry – and angry – to read this report from Utah.

A man accidentally fired his gun while trying to dismantle it and struck a woman who was three bays over at the TNT Gun and Range on Saturday afternoon in Murray … The bullet went through both of the woman’s legs.

Sgt. Paul Christiansen with Murray Police Department said the woman was in her 50s and is expected to make a full recovery. She was sent into surgery the same day to treat her dual wounds.

There’s more at the link.

Friends, I’ve repeated Jeff Cooper’s four rules of gun safety many times in these pages.  To refresh our collective memory:

  1. All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are.
  2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. (For those who insist that this particular gun is unloaded, see Rule 1.)
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target. This is the Golden Rule. Its violation is directly responsible for about 60 percent of inadvertent discharges.
  4. Identify your target, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything that you have not positively identified.

This incident was a clear breach of Rule 2 at the very least, and probably Rule 3 as well.  Guns don’t just “go off by accident” unless someone’s fiddling with them, and it’s all too easy to let one’s finger stray too close to the trigger.  (That’s not helped by the design of some pistols like the Glock, where one has to pull the trigger – AFTER UNLOADING THE GUN! – in order to disassemble it.  If one hasn’t properly unloaded it, loud noises can result.)

Thanks be to God that nothing worse happened.  One trusts that measures will be taken to teach the erring gun owner better weapon-handling.  I hope he has good insurance, because the medical bills resulting from his goof are likely to be high, and I daresay he’ll be held liable for every penny of them – as he should be.



  1. When I purchased my last hand gun, the clerk in the store pulled one out of the showcase and was waving it around (sometimes pointing it at me.) I about had a cow. Ummmm – excuse me, sir, we never, ever assume the gun is unloaded. Never!

  2. During the purchase of my last handgun an off-duty cop shot himself in the leg while he was holstering his pistol in the adjoining range. Shit Happens

  3. The Range Officer should of intervened and told the offender that the dismantling of firearms on the range is NOT allowed. All the gun ranges I shoot at have the rules posted on each firing station. Stupid is as stupid does.

  4. The cool part about the 4 rules is the way they interoperate. As humans we all make mistakes and when you make a mistake with one of the rules the others can save you. At a recent trap shooting session with my son and some of his college friends who are some of the brightest people I've ever met, one young man was "fiddling around" trying to chamber a round in a semi auto 12 gauge. His little finger strayed into the trigger and he had an accidental discharge. The good news is that he was religiously controlling the muzzle which was pointed down range.
    We had a safety debriefing right there on the spot and I recommend that any time you have a close call you parse it out and take corrective action.

  5. Good comments. That, btw in addition to your excellent writing, is characteristic of your blog.

    I will also say, that before I got to the end of your post, I was thinking, 'Hmm, I wonder if it was a Glock.'

    Glocks and newbies. Shudder.

  6. I'm an RSO at a local range and if I see someone having trouble with a firearm, I intervene. Usually I can resolve the problem. I can at the very least be certain of safe handling of the affected firearm.

  7. My range has bulletproof glass partitions.

    Nonetheless, I have packed up and left (and informed RO) after seeing some newbies nearby.

  8. Ah…the time the lady and I were at a gun show. Walking around, enjoying the wares, stopped to take a look at some ballistic knives and, "BAM!" very close by! Total silence in the building while I'm thinking "That was a gunshot! Who the F*** discharged a weapon!". The lady is good, I feel okay, looking around to locate the source and one table over a fellow was slowly walking over to one of the vendors who…had shot himself in the leg while disassembling his Glock. Calls of "Medic!", EMTs are there within 30 seconds. Dumbass could have killed someone and managed to get the progressives on the city council calling for banning all gun shows from the city.
    I also make it a point to always set up on the right-most range position. Most folks are right-handed so they tend to point their weapon to the left when clearing it.

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