Previously, on Who Wants to Wear Flame-Proof Trousers, TTAG received major heat for naming the Lino Lakes police department our Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day. Seems we failed to consider the possibility that a handgun caliber bullet could ricochet backwards from a recently cleared firing range and pierce the epidermis of an officer on the line. Who knew? But some things are entirely predictable and completely irresponsible. Like what happens when a police department lets officers repair firearms in the comfort of their own home. Unsupervised. Late at night. Without specific guidelines. The Intelligencer/Wheeling News Register reports . . .
[Marshall County, West Virginia] Deputies Rodney Sleeth and Mike Dougherty were repairing firearms Tuesday at Dougherty’s home, which contains a gun shop that he uses in his spare time. The deputies are armorers and were working to repair department-owned firearms when a firearm discharged. The deputies were preparing to begin a midnight shift when the incident occurred.
Sleeth suffered a wound to his hand, while Dougherty suffered a wound to his hand and his left hip just below his belt line. Sleeth was treated and released from Wheeling Hospital before returning for additional treatment Tuesday. Dougherty had surgery Tuesday to treat his injuries, details of which were not disclosed. Both deputies are expected to make full recoveries.
Ah, yes, “a firearm discharged.” Did Sleeth shoot Dougherty or did Dougherty shoot Sleeth? ‘Cause someone shot someone. Once again, the media and the men responsible for irresponsible gun handling obfuscate and sugar-coat a negligent discharge—the same sort of “accident” which would get a civilian into all kinds of trouble.
Whether it’s a union or lawyer-shaped muzzle, the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department is staying stum, pending this, that and the other thing. Meanwhile, more forthright observers might wonder if it’s a good idea for Deputies to maintain their firearms in the comfort of their own home—at least not without defining the exact type, method and frequency of the task.
The Marshall County po-po doesn’t see it that way . . .
[Marshall County Sheriff John] Gruzinskas said while he did not expect any major action to be taken regarding the maintenance of firearms and the location in which that maintenance is performed, new policies may be implemented regarding the role of armorers and range officers within the department. He added while general polices exist for how weapons are dealt with, there are no policies for the performance of those jobs.
“We don’t have that policy because we never knew we would have to address an issue like this,” he said.
Who’d a thunk it? Not Chief Deputy Kevin Cecil, who told The Intelligencer that his department would continue to use Dougherty’s home for firearms repairs and maintenance—once Dougherty recovers from his injuries.
The Chief Dep reckons his officer’s crib is a “controlled environment designed for that work” that’s “as safe a place as any for such maintenance work to be conducted.” Never mind those noisy kids or nagging wife.
That’s pure conjecture, obviously. One thing we know for certain: Marshall County Chief Deputy Cecil lives in an irony-free zone:
“The only people that are allowed to work on firearms are those that have the proper training,” Cecil said. “They are much further trained on the inner-workings of a gun, such as the trigger mechanisms and the internal parts. It isn’t a situation where they are just laying it on the ground and tearing it apart. They know what they are doing.”