We’ve been accused of looking for examples of police misconduct and gunhandling faux pas ‘cause we’re anti-cop. We don’t. And we’re not. Really. We comb the Intertubes daily looking for interesting gun fodder. And plenty o’ folks throw stuff over the transom at us, too, just in case we miss something (which is pretty much inevitable). There’s no shortage of non-cop IGOTD material in this category. But it is true that police NDs have a certain editorial piquancy. After all, LEOs are in charge of enforcing gun control laws. And more than a few antis tell us that law enforcement officers are the only people with sufficient training and expertise to be entrusted with such potentially dangerous tools. Yes well . . .
How is it that so many cops manage to handle their guns – the ones for which they’ve received all that training and developed all that expertise – so poorly? Take Chief Walt Sanford of the Adirondack town of Fort Edward, New York. As portstar.com reports, he just put a 9×19 through his left hand while doing a little routine maintenance.
Sandford said he was cleaning the gun, a personally owned weapon that he does not use for police purposes.
He was breaking down the gun to clean it and moved the slide back, believing there was not a round in the chamber, when the gun discharged.
“Obviously, I thought the round had ejected,” he said. “I was doing something I’ve done thousands of times.”
We’re not sure if that makes us feel any better about it. You?
Bad habits die hard. Maybe pushing the slide back while lasering his own hand rather than pulling it back from behind (or at least on top) will finally go the way of the dodo for the Chief. And we won’t even mention clearing the gun and that whole trigger thing. Oops.
“My pride was hurt more than my hand,” he said.
We’re glad the injury was relatively minor – if any gunshot wound can ever be considered minor. The point here isn’t that cops are dumber or handle their guns less safely than the general population, even if it seems that way. It’s that the vast majority of all gun owners – cop and civvy alike – know how to handle a heater and do it safely, day in and day out without incident. The boys in blue are no better or worse at it than the population at large.
In the mean time, Chief Sandford will be receiving our IGOTD laurels. We know that may not do much to salve his pride, but we hope his left hand will be a little safer for it.