Earlier this month, a South Carolina man shot himself because he wanted to show a friend his new holster. As wmbfnews.com reports, “As the victim was dropping the magazine out of the firearm, he pulled the trigger and shot himself between his left ring finger and pinky, the report stated. In other words, he was handling his loaded firearm without a good reason to do so.
Negligence like this is why we can’t have nice things. It also presents an opportune moment to brush up on the importance of good gun safety practices.
You probably already know Jeff Cooper’s four rules of gun safety:
You have to break at least two of these rules for something bad to happen. Perhaps there should be the fifth rule: don’t touch your damned gun unless you have a good reason to.
Granted, if you follow Col. Cooper’s four rules fastidiously, you’ll never have a negligent / accidental / pick your adjective discharge. Still, the unofficial fifth rule bears mentioning. It’s kind of like driving; every minute you’re in a car, there’s a risk of an accident, either due to driver error on your part, or on the part of others.
Similarly, the more you handle a gun, the greater the chance that something will go wrong. Murphy, after all, never takes a day off. Observing basic gun safety practices — and leaving your gat holstered until it’s actually needed — minimizes those risks.
If you read reports of some famous negligent discharge incidents over the years, one of the common threads is that someone was unnecessarily handling their gun, either to show it off or because they were carrying in an unsafe manner.
Remember this guy? The one who was the only one professional enough to handle a GLOCK?
Then there’s the unfortunate case of Darryl Jouett, an off-duty officer captured on security camera shooting himself in the leg, which apparently occurred during a date night with his wife. He draws his pistol — for some reason — tried to reholster, but fumbled it and ends up sending a round into his leg.
Other examples abound, such as an October, 2015 incident in Kansas City when the person carrying a gun was adjusting his it in his pocket and it “went off”, wounding him and ruining a viewing of Maze Runner: Scorch Trials.
Negligent discharges seem to be fairly common in movie theaters, as other incidents fitting the same description – fiddling with a holstered gun because they were uncomfortable – are easy to dig up. Such as one this past October, in Norwalk, Connecticut or a 2012 incident in Sonora, California. Worse still, the corrections officer in question was a grown man at a showing of “Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2.”
The takeaway here: keep your hands off your gun unless you have a good reason to touch it. As a corollary to that, make sure you’re carrying with a holster that’s comfortable and covers the trigger. That should eliminate any desire to to fiddle with or adjust your gun while you’re out and about. Be careful out there.