How to Lose Your Gun Rights By “Accident”

.40 S&W (courtesy

“Police are investigating what they believe to be an accidental shooting Friday evening when a man in the Cove shot his right hand while dismantling a semiautomatic hand gun,” stamfordadvocate,com reports. “[Lt. Diedrich] Hohn said the man explained that he was dismantling his .40 caliber Smith & Wesson handgun when the gun went off. Hohn said the man said he did not realize that one bullet was in the chamber when he was taking the gun apart. The slug was fired into the man’s right palm and traveled under the skin, exiting through his pinky finger. The slug then went through a wall and lodged in a bedroom bureau, where it was recovered by police. No one else was injured during the incident.” Ouch. But here’s what really hurt . . .

Police took the man’s valid permit to carry a concealed handgun and seized the handgun for safekeeping, as well as a shotgun also kept in the house, Hohn said.

Hohn said State Police will review his permit to determine if his permit will be returned and a hearing will be held in the matter. No charges have been filed in the case, Hohn said.

This, in the Constitution State. Oh, and here’s something interesting from Project ChildSafe, Bangor police hand out free gun locks at Bangor Mall [via]

Bangor police Chief Mark Hathaway, who shot himself in the left hand in June while cleaning his new duty weapon, said Friday that he would be out of town for the event, but wanted to remind people that even those with training make mistakes.

“I talk about it now at every opportunity wherever I am,” Hathaway said. “I want everyone to know what I did and to always remember it so it never happens to them. I have received a lot of support and a lot of criticism. I appreciate the support and certainly deserve the criticism.”

Hathway, a 25-year veteran officer who was selected as the city’s chief in April, suffered an injury to his hand near his left pinky. He was ordered to undergo additional gun safety training and had his hand in a cast from the elbow down while it healed.

One rule for them, one rule for us, eh? [h/t Pascal]


  1. avatar Jesus says:

    How does one manage to shoot oneself while taking down an M&P? At no point do you need to pull the trigger. Hell, the second step is to lock back the slide.

    Unless he wasn’t using an M&P. In that case he still needs to be pistol whipped.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      Maybe he didn’t bother to read the manual first.

    2. avatar Jeremy S says:

      Yeah it doesn’t say M&P in the article. No way to know. Could be a Sigma or whatever else you can get chambered in .40 S&W from S&W.

      1. avatar Pulatso says:

        For that matter, it might not be a S&W at all. .40 cal is also called .40 S&W, the reporter might have picked up the caliber from the police report and thought the gun itself was a S&W.

    3. avatar David PA/NJ says:

      But you dont have to do it that way. You can break it down normally and some of us find that to be easier than getting that tool out

    4. avatar MacBeth51 says:

      Trying to qualify for the Bangor PD? I mean, after all, if the Chief dies it…

    5. avatar Jhonny says:

      you are required to pull the trigger to take down an M&P handgun, you pull the slide back flip the lever then return the slide to normal position and pull the trigger releasing the slide from the frame … I know because I own 4 of the M&P and carry 1 on duty daily however written on the slide provided my Smith&Wesson clearly states the firearm can fire with the magazine removed …not to mention you always check the chamber before cleaning or working on any firearm

      1. avatar Kirk says:

        No you don’t have to pull the trigger. You empty the weapon, lock the slide to the rear, rotate the takedown lever, use the tool in the grip or anything else to rotate the sear deactivation lever. Then you remove the slide from the frame.

    6. avatar Jason Yates says:

      You are a dumbass for at least 3) reasons. 1) be very careful when judging lest God judge you. 2) Accidental firing of a firearm is actually easy to do under many circumstances. 3) you are a FOOL for using the Lord’s name in vain. Congratulations for being perfect.

  2. avatar Hank says:

    I don’t see how this happens, especially by someone so trained. Seriously. How hard it is to see a stinkin’ bullet in the chamber when you safety check your pistol? Good grief. This is like backing over yourself with your own car.

    1. avatar dlj95118 says:

      …you know, I felt the same way and thought about posting the same.
      I realized that one may become soooo familiar with something that safety issues are forgotten.
      I shocked the sh!t outa myself while working on a tube guitar amp; tired, late at night, I knew better, and still straddled the B+ from elbow to wrist. After picking myself up off the floor, finding and straightening my glasses, and treating a small burn, I thought – DUMA$$!!!
      Lesson learned, won’t do that again. Maybe like the poor sap in the article.

      1. avatar Will says:

        Never had B+ knock me about. I did manage to feel it once though… wrist to elbow… was a power supply cap IIRC. Serves me right for not tying it to ground after I thought I discharged it.

        1. avatar dlj95118 says:

          …well, ashamed to say – another point of contact in that “elbow to wrist” was the unprotected AC input.
          Like I said – “DUMA$$”!!!

    2. avatar Bob4 says:

      What he told the police may not be what happened. It is probably far more plausible that he was playing around, perhaps trying to dry fire in an unsafe manner.

      1. avatar Pulatso says:

        A distinct possibility.

      2. avatar Dave Stein says:

        I had the same thought, but then thought about the description of the wound. Sounds like a wound one would get while disassembling. Goofing around I would think you’d get shot in the leg, foot, maybe straight thru the hand or some type of ricochet wound.

  3. avatar Mark N. says:

    So what justifies the taking of either firearm for “safe keeping” when no law has been broken? And even assuming they could take the pistol, how can they justify the seizure of his shotgun? Is there some bizarre law in the Constitution State that allows for this?

    1. avatar Dyspeptic says:

      My thoughts exactly. I could maybe understand a review of his CCL, but completely disarming the man over an accident that harmed no innocent person is just police state thuggery. Needless to say, when a cop shoots himself accidentally they don’t get disarmed and de-badged.

      When Connecticut residents get in an injury involved accident with a car do the Geheime Staatspolizei routinely impound all of their vehicles and threaten to revoke their drivers license? I doubt it.

    2. avatar Dave says:

      It was probably a law or city ordinance along the lines of illegal/unlawful discharge of firearm.

    3. avatar Ross says:

      I guess it falls under the law of stupid, just can’t fix itself you know.

    4. avatar Conway Redding says:

      How about this gun owner has demonstrated himself to be too stupid to own a firearm? I mean, how much cognitive wattage do you have to have to know that you don’t clean your weapon without having rendered it safe? That includes, of course, assuring yourself that the weapon is EMPTY. Now, it’s not against the law to be stupid, but it’s not against the law, either, to be crazy. However, if LE detects a crazy person acting in a way that seems to be posing a danger to him/herself or others, LE Is usually authorized to take action, including depriving the person of his freedom, at least for long enough for the person to get a formal evaluation.

  4. avatar 4thInfantryStephens says:

    Yep. Two irresponsible gun owners, two very different actions taken against them. Just more proof that the police are better than the citizens they “serve”.

    I have trained with, shot with and taught classes to police officers and military personnel that, frankly, I wouldn’t trust with a pellet gun. Same with non-sworn gun owners who carry on the daily. Point is that everyone WILL make a mistake eventually if there is even a second of complacency, the po-po just so happen to be the more susceptible bunch to that particular affliction.

  5. avatar Ralph says:

    he was dismantling his .40 caliber Smith & Wesson handgun

    The story doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    First of all, I doubt that he was “dismantling” his handgun.

    Second, as we all know, there’s only one way for non-defective handgun to go off. Why would the fool pull the trigger if he was attempting to”dismantle” it?

    Third, if the pistol was a S&W M&P like the one shown, the story is even more confusing since pulling the trigger to disengage the sear is not required on M&P pistols — unlike Glocks and some other striker-fired pistols. The M&P has a sear disconnect lever that’s accessible only when the slide is pulled back and the mag removed.

    Fourth, I don’t see what the problem is. If you smack your car into your own garage and hurt yourself, doesn’t the G take away your driver’s license?

    Finally, the Stamford Advocate is a true POS birdcage liner.

    1. avatar Jeremy says:

      Assuming the statement about disassembling the gun is true, it’s possible it was a sigma and not an M&P. On the sigma, you pull the trigger to release the sear, then pull back slightly on the slide while holding down a small lever to bring it forward. Very much so possible to fire one off if you neglect to check the chamber first on those.

      If it was an M&P as pictured… then either he wasn’t disassembling the gun or he left a loaded mag in.

      1. avatar spacecoaster says:

        This ^^^^^.

        There have been numerous reported cases of negligent discharges of owners cleaning their Glocks. The Sigma is so close to a Glock, that Smith & Wesson settled a lawsuit over the similarities. In my opinion (which is not worth much) a pistol that has to have the trigger depressed in order to disassemble it for cleaning is an accident just waiting to happen. Disclaimer: I do not own a Glock, or a Sigma, and probably never will.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          I do own a Sigma and it’s been a very functional pistol for me. But it did creep me out a little when I realized I had to pull the trigger to strip it. Very, Very Carefull during this procedure.

        2. avatar Peirsonb says:

          Pulling the trigger to dismantle always seemed a bit like having to floor the accelerator to put a car in park….

          That, and there is no ammo anywhere near where I intend to clean and maintain a gun. Clear the weapon, relocate, THEN disassemble.

  6. avatar JWhite says:

    “he did not realize that one bullet was in the chamber ” I call BS. He had a loaded magazine in the pistol when he decided to clean it, without clearing and making safe.

    Step 1) Remove magazine
    Step 2a) Check chamber (visual)
    Step 2b) Check chamber (physical)
    Step 3) Varies, but if it was indeed an M&P you would manipulate the take down lever,
    Step 4) Release slide
    Step 5) Point in a safe direction
    Step 6) Pull trigger.

    So you’re telling me he failed on Steps 1, 2a, 2b, AAAAAND 5? Never mind the fact he managed to muzzle his hand and failed to clear and make safe PRIOR to cleaning. He deserved every bit of that perforation.

    Complacency is the mother of all F-Ups.

  7. avatar Jim Barrett says:

    We have those four rules of gun safety for a reason. You have to violate at least two of the rules for something bad to happen. There should be a category for people who do stupid shit like this (both the guy in the article and the Police Chief) called, “too dumb to own a gun.” Jokers like this make the rest of us look like idiots and give the Mothers against whatever more grist for the mill. If you are such a friggin idiot as to shoot yourself or someone else by accident, you aren’t competent to own a firearm. Period. I’d have no problems whatsoever having people who do stuff like this lose their gun rights.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      I’d have no problems whatsoever having people who do stuff like this lose their gun rights.

      I do. Unless this dolt committed a crime, there’s no basis at all for taking away his Constitutional right to protect himself and his home. Or do you advocate taking away a driver’s right to own a car because he or she had an accident?

      Besides, this guy’s problem is self-correcting.

      1. avatar JWhite says:

        Most people don’t have accidents at 768 mph.

        I agree with you though. It was an accident.

        1. avatar Accur81 says:

          Could be faster than than if it was a 165, 155, or 135 grain bullet.

        2. avatar Peirsonb says:

          In my experience most deer don’t either. Now if I could find a cartridge with a muzzle velocity around 55….

  8. avatar Chris Jones says:

    So maybe they took his permit and guns because they believed he was lying?

    1. avatar Dyspeptic says:

      Still doesn’t make sense. Shouldn’t they have to prove in court that he was lying before depriving him of a fundamental civil right? You know, due process and all.

    2. avatar ropingdown says:

      Yep. Note, on the other hand, that the Bangor Police Chief mentioned above was only fibbing. Big difference!

  9. avatar Charles5 says:

    I find it hilarious that people actually think either of these clowns were really cleaning their guns. I would bet the farm that their cleaning equipment wasn’t even out. They were playing with them. Nobody would ever admit that they were twirling their gun and shooting at imaginary bad guys and forgot to clear the weapon first. This is how I think most of these things go down:

    Irresponsible gun owner is dry firing his gun and pretending to clear the house, but he wants his pistol to have the heft that an actual loaded pistol would have or he wants to feel the pinky extension and is too lazy to empty the magazine first. So, he inserts a loaded magazine into the gun and proceeds to dry fire around the house, being very careful drop the magazine before he racks the slide on his striker fired pistol so he can feel the click when he pulls the trigger. He does this several times, always making sure a round isn’t actually chambered. But then, he is really getting into his role playing and forgets to drop the magazine before racking the slide. Aaaaand BANG. Negligent discharge. How might I know that things go down this way? Ask my Aunt’s boyfriend…his $2000 TV is quite dead now.

    1. avatar DaveL says:

      I find it hilarious that people actually think either of these clowns were really cleaning their guns.

      I bet they really thought their dates only ever went to the ladies’ room to powder their noses.

  10. avatar Gregolas says:

    If cleaning a pistol is so dangerous, I marvel that there aren’t more washing machine drownings .

    1. avatar dlj95118 says:


  11. avatar Jeff says:

    The article could mean .40 S&W is the round the gun is chambered for, not that it was a S&W product. No gun is shown with the original report.

    1. avatar Pulatso says:

      My thought exactly. Lots of guns chambered in .40 S&W that do require pulling the trigger to take down.

  12. avatar Jacen says:

    This is why we need to be anal retentive about this. ALWAYS treat your gun as if it were loaded. Even if you KNOW for a fact you unloaded it, you make sure it is empty at all cost.

  13. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

    Sounds like he forgot the 1st rule of any firearms discharge that arouses police suspicion, STFU.

  14. avatar gs650g says:

    So he loses the shotgun too?

    1. avatar Patriot says:

      Well yeah, what the hell does “shall not be infringed” mean to you? Because “apparently” we are all uneducated idiots and it is outdated and it means that only the national guard and police should have guns. Besides think of all the children that will be saved from his negligence.

    2. avatar Layne says:

      He should have fired a couple warning blasts from the baclony when police arrived.

  15. avatar ht4 says:

    Many have noted that you do not need to pull the trigger to take down an M&P pistol… True, but misleading.

    You need to disengage the sear from the striker to take the gun down and there is two ways to do this. You can either use the takedown lever which is, frankly, a royal pain. Or you can pull the trigger which is much easier. Each works equally well. I would be willing to bet money that well over half of M&P owners use the trigger method.

  16. avatar Paul53 says:

    Why didn’t he look in the end of the barrel to see if there was a bullet there! (He said, tongue in cheek).

  17. avatar Stinkeye says:

    “One rule for them, one rule for us, eh?”

    Kind of an apples an oranges comparison, since the incidents occurred in two different states. If this clown had shot himself in Bangor, and they took his guns away, it would be a much stronger case of hypocrisy. I have no doubt a CT cop who shot himself would be treated differently than this idiot, but a Maine cop being treated differently only proves that ME and CT have different laws.

  18. avatar Aragorn says:

    Regardless of the firearm model which is not what is really important here but missed
    by some posters are two issues:

    1. What is good for the police is good for the citizen. No double standard need apply.
    Either revoke the CCW Permit from anyone including Law Enforcement who have accidents with firearms or write it off as an accident and send the gun owner or firearms handler to a firearms safety course.

    2. Always Always make sure a firearm is unloaded before cleaning by visually checking,
    As far as we are concerned here in my home all firearms are always loaded unless you unload and visually check said firearm to insure it is unloaded.

    1. avatar Fred says:

      Well, the police are special because they can buy things we can’t, and they can buy those things because they’re special, and they’re special because they can buy things we can’t, and they can buy those things because their special, and they’re special because they can buy things we can’t, and they can buy those things because they’re special…

      Wait, why are police supposed to be special again?

      My pistol cleaning routine begins with looking through the magwell like a telescope.

  19. avatar Paul McCain says:

    I suspect alcohol was involved.


  20. avatar John Dennis says:

    So if I accidentally shoot myself at home, the police will have the authority to search the rest of my house?

  21. avatar Dana says:

    Steps I take when cleaning my Spring field XD:
    remove magazine
    Clear chamber
    Check Chamber
    Point gun in safe direction
    Check chamber one last time
    pull trigger (required on the XD)
    Begin breakdown.

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