My first experience with firearms was a NRA certified instructor who, in order to demonstrate that guns are safe, threw a handgun onto a table at which I and the rest of my Cub Scout pack were seated. The gun spun around a few times before ending up pointed squarely at me.
The experience made two things clear to me: not all instructors are good instructors, and I really don’t want to be on the business end of a firearm ever again.
Proper instruction on safe firearm handling is something I firmly believe should be taught in schools through a well-designed curriculum. The problem: there are lots of shadetree “instructors” out there in addition to just plain unqualified people teaching “gun safety.” And it sometimes leads to tragic situations like what happened in Indiana last night.
From Chicago’s-CBS affiliate:
A man has been charged with five felonies after his 9-year-old daughter was killed when a gun discharged as he was telling his kids not to play with guns in Hobart, Indiana.
About 5 p.m. Saturday, officers responded to a call of a person shot in the 100 block of East 10th Avenue, according to Hobart police. They found Olivia Hummel lying unresponsive with a gunshot wound to the head in the bedroom of the home. Her dad, Eric Hummel, was kneeling next to her.
“She’s dead. She’s f—ing dead,” Hummel told officers when they arrived, police said.
The father was “teaching” his kids not to play with guns. By pointing a firearm at his children and pulling the trigger.
The gun was unloaded when Hummel was showing it to his sons, police said. He later re-loaded the gun, but forgot he had done so. He told the boys “never use a gun” and “this is why” before he pointed it at his daughter, who had just walked into the room, and shot her in the head.
As Hobart Police Chief Richard W. Zormier put it:
“I believe this was a series of heinous and depraved acts committed by the suspect on June 10. His actions that day endangered the lives of all three children and ultimately stole the life of Olivia, an innocent 9-year-old girl. His actions caused the death of Olivia and likely scarred the boys emotionally for life.”
There’s a very good reason why the Four Rules of Firearm Safety exist. Follow them at all times and the likelihood of a tragedy like this are virtually nil. Ignore them and you may find yourself having destroyed much more than just your own life.