Here’s an excerpt from a court case listed on leagle.com involving an insurance claim. I can’t make head or tails of who’s suing whom for what or why the judges said it was OK or not OK. But I can see how gun safety can be easily ignored, with entirely predictable consequences.
The following facts were pled in the underlying action. On March 25, 2005, Jesse Sollman (“Officer Sollman”) was a member of the City of Easton Police Department’s SWAT team. Following a SWAT team exercise on that date, members of the team returned to police headquarters and began unloading and cleaning the weapons used during the exercise. Officer Sollman along with fellow SWAT team members Renninger and Weber performed these tasks in a secondary weapons cleaning room. After cleaning his weapon, Renninger proceeded to the locker room where he reloaded his weapon. Upon noticing a mark on the weapon, Renninger returned to the secondary cleaning room with the loaded weapon. Renninger placed the safety on, cleaned the slide portion of the weapon to remove the spot, and then removed the safety and turned to exit the room. In the process of turning, Renninger’s weapon discharged, firing a bullet that fatally wounded Officer Sollman.
So whose fault is that, then? As we’ve said here many times, gun safety is everyone’s responsibility. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. In this case, it seems that the chain was made of weak links . . .
The amended complaint further alleges a number of practices of the Easton Police Department that may have contributed to the shooting incident including: that there were previous incidents of accidental or negligent weapons handling and/or discharge; that the police department did not provide any training pertaining to the transport of weapons, loading and unloading of weapons, or cleaning of weapons within police headquarters; that officers routinely loaded and unloaded weapons without using sand safety barrels and were not penalized; and that no written policies existed regarding the transportation, cleaning, loading and unloading, use of a safety, or holstering of weapons in police headquarters.
The police are in charge of enforcing gun safety laws. They should—must—lead by example.