Question of the Day: Should Southfield Police Have Returned Koran-Burning Pastor’s Gun After ND?

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With today’s modern weapons, the chances of a gun firing “by accident” are zero. Now that most guns are drop safe, the last excuse for accidental discharge has been removed. (You could make a strong case that the “oops I dropped it so it’s not my fault” argument didn’t wash in the first place.) These days, there are only “negligent discharges.” In other words, gun owners are responsible for every bullet that comes out their gun, no matter what. When a bullet or bullets emerge from their firearm when it shouldn’t, it’s an ipso facto case of negligence. So the headline Koran-Burning Pastor’s Gun Discharges Outside of Detroit TV Station is fundamentally misleading, even though the details are sketchy . . .

Police were called Thursday night after Koran-burning pastor Terry Jones [not shown] accidentally discharged his firearm in the parking lot of a television station, where he had just conducted an interview, MyFoxDetroit.com reported.

“Pastor Terry Jones just discharged his firearm in our parking lot,” myFOXdetroit.com announced on its Facebook page.

“He claims it was fired by accident. The shot went into the floorboard of his car. No one was hurt. Police on scene.”

Southfield Police confirmed the gun accidentally discharged. No charges were filed, and police gave the gun back to Jones before sending him on his way.

The FOX-owned WJBK television station where the incident took place has a policy of not allowing guns inside the building.

So much for Fox and gun rights. Anyway, were the cops right to mount a cursory investigation of this .40 caliber ND, return Jones’ gun and send him on his merry way?

On one hand, it’s an example of dare-I-say it common sense. On the other hand, do we want a guy with a high probability of using his firearm in a self-defense situation walking around with a gun when he’s demonstrated his inability to carry it safely?

 

comments

  1. avatar A Critic says:

    Now that guns are drop safe,

    Many guns are not drop safe. Jones is still living in the Crusades – seems to me that he might not have the latest and greatest firearms. If you have a gun that is not drop safe you are still responsible if it discharges though.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Added the word “most.” “Now that most guns are drop safe.” Fair enough?

      1. avatar Chaz says:

        I’d guess it was not a drop but an errant finger-trigger interaction. When a ‘hot’ handgun is being handled while it is neither held in a full strong shooting grip nor ensconced in a good holster the use of a trigger safety on safe seems prudent. Trying to maneuver something like a Glock into a car gun safe without first unloading it could be problematic. My theory is that unloading was not performed in an ill advised attempt to be inconspicuous.

  2. avatar Ryan Finn says:

    I think the cops played it right as far as the law is concerned. As much as I absolutely loathe this guy, he has a right to defend himself and a Muslim hating bigot does not want to be rolling around Detroit unarmed.

    I do think that though, that if you have a CWP and you have a negligent discharge in public like that there should be some sort of necessary remedial training to avoid a charge of firing in city limits or whatever statute there is. Like traffic school. Having a weapons permit means you have to be responsible and this kind of thing shows a lapse of responsibility that could lead to deadly consequences.

    1. avatar Vincit Veritas says:

      Interesting idea, but then wouldn’t you have to require that same sort of remedial training for everyone before anybody even gets a firearm?

      1. avatar Ryan Finn says:

        I do think you should become somewhat educated and get some training about firearms before purchasing one. Personally I think the education and training should start at home at a young age. Should the state mandate that? Maybe or maybe not. That’s a question for a different day.

        1. avatar Ellendar says:

          That really doesn’t work logically though, how is an individual who doesn’t grow up in a shooting family going to learn how to use a firearm before they can actually hold one?

          Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for proper training and practice, but that’s like saying you want people to have a decent serve in tennis before they buy their tennis racket.

  3. avatar Vincit Veritas says:

    It should depend on Michigan law- if an ND that doesn’t injure anybody or destroy any property isn’t a crime, then they should send him on his merry. If it is a crime, or if it requires forfeiture of his firearm or license (which it certainly should if it hit somebody or something) then they should act appropriately.

    His infamy or “position” as someone of controversy should have no bearing on their decision.

  4. avatar Magoo says:

    RF says: “So much for Fox and gun rights.”

    It’s impossible to deny that the station’s no-firearms policy was vindicated in this case. The “Reverend” Jones put a bullet hole only in the floor of his car, when he just as easily could have drilled a valuable piece of broadcasting equipment or a station employee. Hooray for gun rights. How about the right of innocent bystanders not to be shot by hapless idiots?

    You’ll say, I suppose, that the station is required to assume that everyone who walks through their doors is qualified to carry a firearm and inclined to handle it safely. I say the station is under no obligation to leap to such an unwarranted conclusion.

  5. avatar Wes says:

    A guy burns a book.
    People on the other side of the world then murder strangers over a burned book.
    People point their fingers at the guy, not at those who murdered people.
    A Congressman then wants to modify the First Amendment so as not to tick off people who murder people over a burned book.

    Which of the above is the worst again?

    Anyway, I’d mainly just like to know what kind of gun it was.

    1. avatar Ellendar says:

      Being that it was a taurus .40 chances are it was a berretta 92 taurus clone.

  6. avatar John Fritz says:

    Not enough information to render an opinion. I personally don’t care for this guy but I err on the side of caution when it comes to grabbin’ guns. Caution being cautious about taking a gun away from someone.

  7. avatar Federale says:

    Most rifles and shotguns don’t have drop safeties. Don’t drop your 870 or AR-15. A discharge is likely. Most pistols though can be dropped to your heart’s content.

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