We’ve seen some tragic instances of people forgetting the check the chamber lately. In addition to other egregious rules violations, that little detail has tripped up some gun owners and cost two bystanders their lives. Now, it appears to have happened again, this time to a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division certified Concealed Weapons Permit course instructor. While he was teaching a Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP) class. And it nearly cost the wife of another deputy her life . . .
Calvin, “Skip” Smith’s a Spartanburg, South Carolina Sheriff’s Deputy. Yesterday, Skip was training CWP students. The report from groupstate.com isn’t completely clear. It appears that Crystal Smith (no relation) was taking the class, too, standing next to the student with whom Skip Smith was working.
Deputy Calvin “Skip” Smith was showing another student in the course how to properly grip her gun when it discharged, and Crystal, who was standing beside the other student on the firing line, was shot. Wright said the bullet passed through Crystal’s arm and entered her side.
Wright said Smith, a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division certified Concealed Weapons Permit Course instructor, was unaware a round had been chambered into the pistol. He was off duty when the accidental shooting occurred.
The .22 bullet went through Crystal Smith’s arm and into her side. She’s now in stable condition after recovering from surgery.
“If we learn anything from this, we have a very well trained guy that had an unfortunate accident that could have cost somebody their life,” (Spartanburg Sheriff Chuck Wright) said.
He said to always make sure a pistol is unloaded when it’s handed to you and stressed how important it is to be careful when handling weapons.
“The instructor should have checked the pistol, and he didn’t do it,” Wright said. “It was just a mistake.”
Wright (above) probably didn’t want to get into too much detail during a press conference. So he left out the part about Smith failing to keep his finger off the trigger. Oh, and pointing the gun in an unsafe direction, too. But look at the bright side: Deputy Smith provided an unusually vivid lesson for the rest of the class in how not to handle a gun.
“This was a very unfortunate accident that has taken an emotional toll on everyone present. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mrs. Smith, her family, friends and all those present at today’s class,” Lt. Tony Ivey with the sheriff’s office said in a written statement.
Truer words, no? This incident demonstrates a simple fact: no matter how experienced you are or much you know about guns – and we don’t doubt the deputy is very experienced and knows all of the rules – it only takes a momentary lapse of attention (and breaking two or three rules) for something really bad to happen.