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Mahamd Hassan (courtesy

I understand why people want to take photographs with a gun. I understand why people want to look at pictures of people holding a gun. (Two words: Liberte Austin.) But I don’t understand why anyone would point a gun at another person in a photograph. This violation of The Four Rules of Gun Safety makes for bad photographs. And bad outcomes. Like this [via]:

A group of friends were posing for photos with the loaded weapon at the Park Inn Motel in Melbourne’s north.

Albert Rapovski, 20, aimed the firearm at his friend Mahamd Hassan [above], who held up his phone to take a photo.

The trainee roof plumber was killed when Rapovski fired the 12-gauge shotgun into his face.

According to court documents, Rapovski cried “I shot, Mo, I shot Mo,” before fleeing the budget motel on March 5.

Earlier in the night, friends had encouraged him to unload the weapon as they knew he did not have a good understanding of how to operate the gun – which he wasn’t licensed to carry.

As our Question Of The Day pointed out, you can’t fix stupid. But you can not be that. So don’t.

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    • Let’s not split hairs, jwm.

      We should save such things for the gear and caliber debates.

    • Apparently the shooter was high on GHB and LSD as well. Of course the answer in the media will be “MOAR GUN CONTROL” even though Australia already has extremely strict laws on guns.

    • It is reported by BBC and says Melbourne, so we can assume Australia. Possession of the shotgun may have been illegal under Aussie law. irrelevant – shooting someone in the face is stupid and illegal and irresponsible if you are not under attack, no matter where you live.

      In this case you have to wonder which of these people was more stupid, the shooter, or the guy who stood there with a shotgun pointed at his face.

      • “Stupidity cannot be cured with money, or through education, or by legislation. Stupidity is not a sin, the victim can’t help being stupid. But stupidity is the only universal capital crime: the sentence is death, there is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.”

        -Robert A. Heinlein

    • The journalist wrote that he wasn’t “licensed to carry” the shotgun, not that he owned it illegally. Does Australia really issue licenses to carry sawed-off shotguns? Are sawed-off shotguns legal in Australia? While I don’t know squat about Australian firearms law, my automatic assumption from experience is that the journalist who wrote this doesn’t know squat, either.

      • IIRC you’d need a liscence to open carry or otherwise possess a shotgun outside of your home unless you were going to or from a range directly. Period. Having a loaded shotgun outside of either of those two places is an instant no-no unless you’re hunting.

  1. Other interesting key words from the story:
    Sawn-off shotgun
    intercepted by customs officers at Melbourne Airport attempting to fly to Macedonia.
    (Why were the customs officers attempting to fly to Macedonia?)

  2. This was incredibly stupid.

    That said I generally don’t have a problem with gun pictures, even ones where the gun is pointed at the camera provided that the people engaged in this activity are well versed in the use of guns and only doing it with unloaded weapons which this guy clearly was not.

    I won’t get into a long discussion on “the rules” but I will say that “the rules” are broken by everyone who carries a gun and most of the time they don’t even realize they’ve broken the rules. Your holstered gun flags you (and likely others) at times whether you want to admit it or not.

    Truth be told there is no “safe direction” to point a firearm. Something crazy can always happen like a bullet hitting a rock in a berm and then striking a person.

    Guns are like powertools, boats, cars, aircraft and anything else you can think of: there’s always a risk.

      • That depends on who you talk to.

        Jeff Cooper’s rule #2 states “Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.” It doesn’t say anything about a holster, sling, anything else. I don’t see a “…but if it’s holstered” coming from Mr. Cooper.

      • Holstered properly? Like in one of those horizontal shoulder holsters aimed at everyone behind me, or an AIWB with a safetyless Glock or LCP aimed directly at my junk? Sounds good to me!

        • This is exactly my point. I don’t personally find any reason to think that a horizontal shoulder holster is unsafe for you or those standing behind you as long as it’s a quality holster that covers the trigger/guard. It’s like leaving a gun on a table, if people walk by it points at them but they are in no danger.

          The gun community gets all in a tizzy about things like this. To me, it’s easier to just accept that 1) guns don’t go off by themselves and 2) nothing you do with a gun is completely safe if the firearm is loaded and no “rules” can change that.

          Hip carry holsters point the muzzle at your leg at times or at other people’s feet. Carrying a rifle muzzle down on a sling does the same thing for your feet and the feet of others. Purists will argue that this is breaking the rules. That’s my point, other than at a properly constructed target with a properly constructed backstop there is NO safe place to point a gun because *if* it discharges (which is what the safety nuts worry about) someone could get hurt. But even that properly constructed shooting place isn’t completely safe. Some idiot could decide to try to run down the line and run right into your bullet. “You should have seen him” they say. Not necessarily. I’ve been to a lot of ranges where if someone was on the right lane you could jump in front of them as they were shooting to commit suicide and they wouldn’t have any ability to know you where there because you’re behind cover right up until you’re in their sight picture.

          I’ve told this story before but I’ll give an abridged version of it again to illustrate my point:

          A few years back I was at an indoor range for a CCW permit test. I obeyed all “the rules” and I fucking shot some poor guy because the backstop was improperly designed (or something, I couldn’t actually see the backstop because of the way the range was lit) and threw my bullet back at him! Now if the rules are so perfect, how the hell did that happen?

          Truth: The rules are not perfect. There really is no truly safe place to point a gun because… crazy shit happens sometimes. Get over it and keep on living. If you’re not a total retard the chances you hurt yourself or someone else are slim to none. The safety is between your ears, not printed on paper or attached to the gun and you sure as hell won’t find it on the interwebz.

        • “I don’t personally find any reason to think that a horizontal shoulder holster is unsafe for you or those standing behind you as long as it’s a quality holster that covers the trigger/guard.”

          You forgot “and the gun involved is not a Glock.”

        • @JWM:

          OK, the unabridged version for you.

          I wanted to get a CCW here in Colorado and the wife wanted one too so we took the class. After the normal classroom stuff at the local Bass Pro Shops everyone has to qualify on the range.

          So in the afternoon everyone has lunch and then drives to this range. I’d never been there before or even heard of it. The place is called “The Shootist Pistol Range, Inc” in Englewood Colorado. If you look them up they have a picture of their backstop when it’s lighted but they also note that they’ve changed things since the three years ago or so that this occurred so maybe the backstop has changed too.

          So this place is 10 lanes in the basement of a gun store. The CCW class has the left-most lanes reserved for us. Because my wife stole my Glock 30 for the test, I’m using a 941 Jericho. It’s all steel, full frame in in .40S&W.

          Everything is going fine, everyone’s shooting well enough to qualify (as if that’s hard). At this point I should mention that I was wearing shorts and I did notice that tiny bits of lead and brass were coming back and hitting me in the legs. But they were small and not high velocity so I didn’t worry that much (I should have).

          Now the instructor wants us to do a drill where the gun’s holstered, we draw, fire one shot center mass at 10 yards, assess and then reholster the pistol. Great. He comes to me and gives me the instructions as he does everyone individually. Now, down all the way on the right hand side of the range there’s a guy and his buddy shooting while I’m in either the 3rd or 4th lane from the far left wall. No worries. At the moment they’re loading mags (I don’t know that in the moment). The instructor says “SHOOT!” I draw, aim, and I fire a Winchester Whitebox 165g FMJ round (my usual plinking/practice ammo).

          Before I can really start to assess my surroundings as instructed I hear someone straight-out scream “Oh shit! What the fuck!”. We’re not talking exciting yelling here. We’re talking a scream like someone just got knifed and knows it. I lean back to look over and the guy has hopped out of his “box” and is frantically taking his shirt off. There’s already a huge red welt on his chest about 2″ below his left nipple and an inch or so closer to his vertical center line. This is where it starts to dawn on me that I just shot this poor guy.

          His buddy, obviously rattled but not totally freaking out reaches down and picks something up off the ground. I safety my pistol, holster it and walk over. It’s about half of that 165g round I launched and it’s smashed pretty flat with some nice sharp edges and it’s still warm enough that he’s not just holding it like just anything but turning it over in his hands to move it around. [It’s gotta be mine I’m thinking.] I know it’s mine because I was the only one on the line shooting when this occurred. I surmise it hit the guy flat-side-first because it didn’t cut him or bend the flattened lead but left a nice paintball-type, but slightly larger, welt on this chest. By this time, maybe a minute or two after he got hit the welt is already turning bluish and starting to bulge. Words were exchanged between various people but I don’t remember what they were. I was still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I just shot this guy, because that HAS to be my bullet, so it may have been a mild form of shock for me.

          The guy I shot and his buddy start packing up to leave right then and there. The guy who took my 1/2 bullet to the chest is now shaking, which isn’t surprising considering the adrenaline hit he probably got. Our instructor is obviously worried about this occurrence. For the last 10 or so minutes of our “qualifications” he makes everyone stand to the far left of the range and only allows people to fire from the far left position.

          Now, looking at the pictures they have today, I’d wager I put a round into the second of the five bullet traps from the left at just the right angle that it boomeranged the round back at that poor guy. I couldn’t see the backstop at the time and it was my first time there. I don’t know if they run the range with the lights as pictured online these days or if that’s just for show. What I do know is that I couldn’t see the back stop because it wasn’t lit.

          So yeah, I fucking shot that guy with a ricochet. Needless to say, I’ve never been back to that range.

        • Strych9, thanks for sharing that. That could have been so much worse. And the instructor just kept the class going. Wow.

        • @Kevin in Colorado:

          I won’t trash talk the place but I won’t recommend it either. The shot was probably a one-off but I’ve never been one to tempt fate.


          It could have been a lot worse, like if that shredded round came out sideways like a ninja star and hit that guy in the eye! I don’t think the usual flimsy eyepro most people wear would have stopped it and even if it did it would likely have shattered the lens into the guys eye. Christ only knows what would have happened if it clipped him in the neck like that. Ugh.

          As for the instructor… he was in a tough spot. We had two people left to do their last drill to meet the requirements for him to sign off of them as having passed the course and it’s not like the classes were cheap. As I recall the class was about $250 a pop plus taxes which because of the locality I want to say totaled something like 8.7% so like $271.75 or so and people would have been pissed if they didn’t get their paperwork to file for permits when they were just minutes from being done.

    • Pointed a gun at a camera a few times, however since camera was tripod mounted and operated with a remote no one was down range. We have the technology that allows us to not point a gun at a person, so in my book no excuse at all.

  3. It’s hard to impress on people what is necessary to be safe around arms. To this day I fall back on 13 weeks on an Island, that if you did not handle your weapon in the appropriate manner, physical as well as metal berating conditioned one to correct quickly. Without the forced instruction which we volunteered for, stick with the four rules and always aware of muzzle sweep. Only clear leather when you need to or at the range practicing.

    • At least Marvin was relaxed and wasn’t all stressed out like Brad was when he got shot…

      • To be fair, Brad had a better understanding of international units of measurement as they relate to commercial fast-food naming conventions… MOTHAFVCKA!!!!

  4. chill out, man, it was an accident, okay? You hit a bump or somethin’ and the gun went off.

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