Viridian weapon pistol laser sight
Courtesy Viridian
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In the summer of 1996, when I was going into eighth grade, a buddy who was a few years older showed me his newest toy. It was amazing, it was brand new to the market, and it was mind-bogglingly fun for a teenage boy: a laser pointer.

I begged my parents for one and they eventually broke down and let me buy the pen-shaped gadget with my own cash. The cheap models available as a cat toy for less than $5 now cost me something like $60 back then. It didn’t matter though, because the ridiculous adolescent thrill of casting a brilliant red disk on the neighbors’ houses made it all worth it.

Tom and I had a particularly good time lasering cute girls as they strolled by, wondering where the laser’s dot was coming from. Other boys soon followed suit and before long there was a small-scale “epidemic” as we wreaked shiny red havoc at school, church and elsewhere as pointer after pointer was confiscated. One particular principal’s complaint still sticks out: “These things are dangerous! Haven’t you seen ‘Star Wars’!?”

Months later, my dad sat me down on the couch and he had a serious look on his face. I don’t know about when you were in eighth grade, but one-on-one conversations with Serious Face Dad rarely meant good things at that point in my development. My mind raced wondering what I had done (or more likely, what he’d found) to warrant a talkin’ to. But I hadn’t done anything. He sat me down to tell me that my friend Tommy was dead.

That was a hard thing to process for an eighth grader, and though it now seems a little cold, I immediately joked through my tears to relieve the tension. “I bet it was a car crash, wasn’t it? Sheesh, what an idiot. He was a horrible driver. I hated riding with him. He was always speeding. That’s what happened, isn’t it? Where did he wreck? Which road?”

Tom was indeed a horrible driver and seemed to take adolescent delight in scaring his younger license-less friends like me, but it wasn’t a car crash that ended his life. He’d ended it with his father’s pistol.

Of course it was a little more complex than that.

Tom and his girlfriend has been alone at his parents’ house. He may have been an idiot behind the wheel (and in a few other areas), but he was at least cool enough to have a girlfriend, and that was all that mattered in my book.

Since his laser pointer had been taken away, he decided to use the laser sight on his father’s handgun to tease her. I don’t know the make or caliber, but since it sported a laser I’m guessing it was a railed semi-auto. What we do know of the story, we know from the panicked 911 call that came a few minutes later.

The girlfriend, in her flirty, stupid, teenaged way, gave up running from the red dot. In (I’m guessing) an exasperated tone and with the laser’s point in the middle of her chest, she said “Fine, you got me. Just shoot me.” That’s when the gun “went off.” But no, it didn‘t just “go off.” Thinking it was unloaded, Tom — probably with an infatuated grin on his lips — pulled the trigger.

He immediately called 911, screaming and wailing. The operator was able to draw out what happened and get the address to send paramedics. No doubt in shock over what he had done and afraid to face the ones he loved or her family, he turned the gun on himself with the operator still on the line. The ambulance and police arrived minutes later to find him dead and his girlfriend dying. She passed away en route to the hospital.


After the funeral, I more or less blocked Tom out of my mind. My laser pointer was relegated to the bottom of a drawer and I eventually threw it out.

I didn’t really think about him until about 10 years later, when a friend and I, on a whim, decided to take a basic gun safety class. I’d never fired anything beyond a BB gun, but it just seemed like something a young man should know. I was neutral/uninformed about 2A issues and had totally blocked out that I had lost a friend to “gun violence.”

The instructor stood up and began his lecture as I jotted down notes:

  1. Treat the gun as if it is loaded at all times.
  2. Never point the gun at something you’re not willing to destroy.
  3. Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you’re ready to shoot (The instructor actually said something more akin “Keep your booger hook off the bang switch,” but I couldn’t bring myself to write that down).
  4. Be sure of your target, and know what is beyond it.

Then he went ahead and added a fifth one: Find a safe, secure place to store the gun when it’s not on you.

It dawned on me in an instant that following any one of these (with the possible exception of #4… Tom was sure of his target), would have saved two lives back in 1996. Tom, his girlfriend and his father made many mistakes that led up to the accident, but had Tom simply known/obeyed rule #1, he never would have shot his girlfriend (and subsequently himself), even if he had broken the other rules.

If he had simply known/obeyed rule #2, even if he had broken the others, they’d probably be alive and driving terribly today. The same goes for #3. He could have known it was loaded and even pointed it at her, but keeping his finger off the trigger would have saved lives.

As far as Tom’s father goes, I don’t know what the storage situation was. The gun may have been sitting in a bedside table drawer, or perhaps Tom broke into a safe/pilfered the key/figured out the combination.

Either way, the grief-stricken father probably mourns every single day that he didn’t properly impress upon Tom the proper, safe, and responsible way to handle firearms. Even someone completely ignorant of the Four Rules should have realized at several points along the way that Tom’s actions were flat-out stupid.


I didn’t lose a friend to “gun violence” that day, though I’m sure his and his girlfriend’s deaths were categorized in some statistical column that way. I also didn’t lose a friend to laser pointers, though you can bet the crackdown on them at school grew in orders of magnitude after that and my young mind associated their deaths with harmless red lights. I lost a friend — and others lost a son and a daughter — to sheer stupidity.

I think of Tom’s mistakes every day as I slide my everyday carry piece into its holster, or when I breakdown my rifles to clean them. I tell the above anecdote each time I take a new shooter to the range to impress upon them the idea that “innocent” accidents are never far from happening, and following the rules is the best way to protect against injury, death and stupidity.

The Four Rules of Gun Safety

What I like most about the four rules is that they overlap each other and you really have to break three of them to cause a problem. (Though intentionally breaking two while following one is the height of stupidity.) Barring a malfunction, I’ve never heard of a gun “accident” that couldn’t have been prevented by following at least one of the rules.

When I have children, I will learn from Tom’s family’s mistakes and impress upon them that guns are not toys. Already mine are locked in the safe when not in use (or on my hip).

It would be poetic if Tom’s death resulted my increased adherence to the rules of gun safety and safe storage. But the bottom line is, I would have taken that class and jotted down my notes regardless. Millions of my fellow gun owners have taken those rules to heart without personally knowing a dumb, scared kid who died as a result of breaking them.

I’m sure millions of kids have stumbled across dad’s gun, only to realize that playing with it like a laser pointer was dumb, dumb, dumb and walked away.

If anything, the biggest lesson I learned from Tom’s mistakes is that piling one bad decision on top of another on isn’t the way to go. He would have faced consequences had he not taken his own life, but by not owning up to what he did and being a man, he caused even more heartbreak and sorrow.

Lasers don’t kill people. Guns don’t kill people. Stupidity kills people.


This article was originally published in 2014.

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  1. I generally advocate storing in condition 4 with a full magazine in the same location. It takes less than a second to tap and rack, but it almost completely eliminates the chances of a negligent discharge due to “not knowing the gun was loaded”…

    • Oddly, that is exactly how I store my HD handgun. Mostly because I am concerned I will be too groggy plus a sudden charge of adrenaline hitting me. I want to consciously have to load the weapon and flip off the safety while my body is busy balancing all those chemicals from just having to wake up in an emergency situation.

      Plus it makes it that much more difficult for someone to do something stupid with it. Though I don’t have a laser mounted on mine.

      • Instead of consigning my first carry gun (a Norinco 213 9mm ) to the safe, it’s been promoted to one of several HD pistols stashed around here…. primarily for the reason that it’s always been a Condition #3 pistol.

        However, my “new” carry piece (a P-64) is always Cond.#1, and stays in-holster when it goes in the safe every night. The only time it clears leather is to be unloaded for cleaning, or to be fired.

        The reason for keeping HD pistols in Cond. 3? Not kids; cats, multiples of. Which is also why every room has nightlights, so I don’t have to bother with a flashlight every time our 30lb Maine Coon(s) gets the night-crazies.

  2. I don’t know about “safety susie”, but right on!

    I cannot fathom how we (although I am in the safety susie club) can anytime rationalize that it is ok to leave a loaded gun unattended by the owner for someone to pickup and take. Ultimately we are responsible. Being risk averse, when I am not home there is no loaded gun and no gun that can be loaded; no one else in the household is yet properly licensed (yes I live in a controlled state).

  3. Kids do stupid things, even when they know better. I’m somewhat surprised any of us actually grow to adulthood. I was told in the army to always lock up my valuables (watch, wallet, etc.) not to protect them from thieves, but from the honest guy who in a stupid moment just grabs them. The same should apply to guns, if they are not on you, they should be under lock. I agree your kids will probably never do anything stupid, but if they do, think how much you’ll regret not taking the time to secure your guns.

    • My dad used to lock up his weapons. He didn’t educate me on them and they were those forbidden objects of mystery I used to wonder about as a kid. After awhile, I figured out how to open everything that was locked in the house. By the time I was 12 there wasn’t a cabinet, locker, or box I couldn’t get into either because I knew where the key was, could manipulate the lock, or figured out the combination. I am amazed that I never had an accident with the number of times I had his old 30-30 out just to “look at it”. Fortunately I never tried anything as stupid as loading it.

      Like I said, when the guns go under lock it will be to keep their friends out. At some points my kids will do something stupid and if family tradition holds it will be with a car. If I can’t trust my kids around guns then I would get rid of them. The risk is not worth it. Keeping in mind, my kids are older, otherwise I would be singing a different tune. At the same time, the thought that locking them up will keep them inaccessible? Unlikely just based on my own history.

  4. In my CCW class one of the “instructors” kept playing around like a goof with either a blue or green laser (I don’t remember which). He kept shining it at a whiteboard, at the other “instructor” (she just laughed), around the room.

  5. I agree. It doesn’t overshadow the reasons why someone should be able to own a gun, but guns are a proximate cause for plenty of problems.

    • This is a point the (left-leaning) law professor Sandy Levinson made in his seminal law review article “The Embarrassing Second Amendment” over 20 years ago. He made a point about “taking our rights seriously,” which means we support in them in spite of potentially significant social costs. As I recall, his examples were something like: We support the right to free speech, even if it means oppressed groups get exposed to hate speech. We support the rights of the accused, even if it means that guilty criminals can go unpunished. We support private firearms ownership, even if means there are fatal firearms accidents or criminal misuse of guns in private hands.

  6. That is a good point. I had no training at all growing up and I knew better than to point a real firearm at someone and pull the trigger.

    I wonder if there is a disconnect in some people’s brains? I am wondering if they almost reflexively pull the trigger when they get “on target”. Think of a person standing there and you give them a good shove forward — they reflexively step forward to stop from falling flat on their face. That step happens without any real conscious thought. I wonder if some people pull the trigger the same way?

    Think about how many times we have seen someone else or even ourselves bring up a firearm, point it at a target, and pull the trigger. It is simply routine. Sounds like some people need training to interrupt that routine and make the last step — pulling the trigger — a conscious decision rather than an unconscious step in a routine.

  7. Actually I think most are IIIa. While you are correct about the dangers of IIIb lasers, IIIa (<5mW), while still dangerous, aren't quite as dangerous and I believe won't cause permanent damage unless they're focused directly on your eye for at least a minute. (I'm not an expert however.)

    That said I still treat them as if they're more dangerous than that, and have scolded kids who get them too close to my/others' faces.

  8. I don’t think a childhood tale of someone shooting someone else getting mainstream airplay would be of much help to us.

  9. Good advice.

    Everyone should employ a STANDARDIZED clearing method offering the least opportunity for an accidental discharge for each type of firearm they own.

    They should clear the weapon THE SAME WAY EVERY TIME to verify that they have emptied the firearm of all rounds, and leave the breach open and empty until the gun is returned to secure storage or deliberately reloaded for immediate use.

  10. With a mag fed semi auto from locked and loaded, or if jammed and loaded, I always release and drop the mag, rack to clear any remaining round and then lock the slide back and visually inspect the breech and mag well to confirm no rounds and no other issues; Every. Single. Time.

    Without fail.

    Muscle memory and S/A at all times.

  11. That’s why my ancestors fled Europe. They wanted to be free. From Napoleon and Austria Hungary. We are not Europe. I thank God we are not Europe.We do not have a homogenous population either. and millions of people are still trying to get HERE-legally or illegally. Yes I did take it personally. You literally sound like Hitler or Stalin. I hope your country isn’t overrun by jihad…you might need that evil gun.

  12. I think the biggest joke are the tritium sights on handguns. Few people realize that after the first shot the muzzle flash blinds you and you can no longer see the sights. And even worse it has to be so dark that you cannot identify your target. I remember reading in Gun Week many years ago that a cop got up one night and rather than shine a light on the person he thought broke into his house he shot him and it turned out to be his son that had come home early from college.

    • used to sleep with my Glock..[with tritium sights]…under my pillow until I thought better of it because of the possible health risk…

      • “used to sleep with my Glock..[with tritium sights]…under my pillow until I thought better of it because of the possible health risk…”

        What health risk are you talking about?

        The Tritium gas ( the radioactive isotope of regular-old hydrogen (H3) ) posed about as close to *zero* risk to you as it gets. It’s sealed in a tiny glass vial protected by the structure of the sight itself.

        Tritium is an ‘Alpha’ emitter, the Alpha particles it emits can be stopped by your skin, a piece of paper, or even a few inches of the air around you. The Tritium sight glows because the Alpha particle strikes a phosphor element coating the inside of the sealed vial, and that emits the light you see.

        Being an isotope of Hydrogen gas (think, the exploding, burning, Hindenburg airship), if you break the little glass vial, it heads straight up at a speed of over 30 miles an hour. Indoors, it sticks to the ceiling a few seconds before it heads into the next floor above or your attic, and shortly after escapes entirely to head to the top of Earth’s atmosphere. If you inhale it, your next exhalation gets rid of it.

        It’s nearly impossible to ‘Nuke’ yourself from a Tritium gas gunsight.

        Radioactive Radon gas, on the other hand, is deadly because it collects in low places like basements…

        • This new learning amazes me! Explain to me again how sheep’s bladders may be employed to prevent earthquake.

        • “that’s reassuring…still remember those radium dial watches…”

          Radium watch dials were (and still are) very dangerous to be around to this day, as the Radium paint is very old and starting to flake off, potentially exposing someone to it.

          And the radiation Radium emits is considered ‘hard’ (ionizing) radiation, that can damage your DNA.

          And that is a good way to initiate cancer…

        • “Explain to me again how sheep’s bladders may be employed to prevent earthquake.”

          No idea, that’s news to me…

      • Really dacian?

        We always thought the biggest jokes are your mentally unbalanced posts.

        You never went to college.

      • The GLOCK was the health risk. Glock revenue 2018, 530 million, Sig Sauer revenue, not counting sales to military anywhere in the world, $641 million. Glock sales 13.7% of all gun sales. Glock accidental discharge accounts for 29% of ALL accidental discharges. Ditch the Glock and buy a real gun. You will be much safer.

    • “Few people realize that after the first shot the muzzle flash blinds you and you can no longer see the sights.”

      I’ve done several classes on a dark indoor range, and that’s never been something I or other students have complained about. Maybe that’s an issue if you’ve just been woken from several hours of sleep. If it’s a concern, many modern defensive loads include chemicals to reduce the visible flash, even in short barrels. The lack of identification is definitely an issue, but night sights give you more options with a flashlight. The light doesn’t need to be behind the sights to provide you with a sight picture. If the target isn’t dark, you can use the pitch black sights with the target as contrast. With a dark target, you either need night sights or the flashlight held back, like a cheek weld or FBI technique.

      • You make the classic mistake of thinking all low light situations are the same, they are not. It depends on the amount of ambient light, the shortness of the barrel of the weapon, the powder burning rate, the amount of powder such as found in plus p loads or plus p plus loads and the weight of the bullet. Making a blanket claim that you will not be blinded by the muzzle flash just does not cover all situations.

        • Well, I’ve shot hundreds of 357 Sig rounds in low light/no light scenarios. I can say with 100% certainty, there was little to no vision loss when doing so. My particular pistol had night sights. Never once did they become less visible due to even the notoriously harsh and blinding (Not really my belief at all. Only parroting all of the truly inexperienced) muzzle flash of the oh so wicked (Again, not my belief) 357 Sig. On the contrary, it was rather like firing off the flashbulbs of old. Lit up the target like a billboard. No vision loss at all.

    • “Few people realize that after the first shot the muzzle flash blinds you and you can no longer see the sights.”

      Not true. I’ve shot a lot at night. In Iraq, in LE, and hunting. This simply isn’t true.

      • in the past i’ve painted my sights with glow in the dark paint…not sure if the good stuff is still around…but after shining a flashlight on them for 10 or 15 sec they appear much brighter than tritium…just sayin’…

        • I can’t imagine standing there shining a flashlight on my painted sights when the immediate need arises for a gun in the dark. That and they never glowed very long, even with the “good stuff”. I guess you could make yourself a target by flashlighting your sights every 60 seconds but seems like a bad idea. Far better to opt for tritium if you want glow in the dark sights.

          I have tritium sights on several guns. They do definitely help sighting within that short period of time between when you don’t need a light and do need a light. It’s a pretty short period of time and I can understand someone not wanting to pay the cost of tritium sights for such a small window of time. On the other hand, if that life threatening situation happens during that short window, the price of those sights is definitely worth it in my opinion.

    • I never considered tritium sights to be much of an issue. This sounds more like fear of wifi or anything else that transmits radio waves to me. There is more likely a greater issue with the noise of the bang hurting your ears or being at the wrong end of a muzzle.

  13. Dang! If you make it out of your teens & 20’s you have a good chance of making it into middle age & beyond. I had a few acquaintances who didn’t. Bad driving/ motorcycles. Laser’s on a handgun are a no go for me. Flashlight is it.

    • Exactly. I have lights mounted on some of my guns, but no lasers and never will. Too unreliable, as they can be knocked off of “zero” by repeated muzzle blast. Even if only by one inch at 10 yds, it’s still off zero.

    • Regular gun lights would be it for me. I would hate for the cats to start thinking I was playing with them using a laser in a high stress moment.

      • I now have a real know, the kind you’re not supposed to point at airplanes…and while there are some restrictions, i’d say it qualifies as a self-defense weapon as it’s quite powerful…it’s even supposed to be able to light a match

        • Kind of off topic, but have you ever lit up a stop sign at night with a laser pointer ? I have a sign about 800 feet up the road, and light it up as cars that weren’t planning on stopping approach….they freak out and lock up the binders, then try to figure out w.t.f.w.t.? Great grins for a five dollar investment !!

        • Traffic signs have a ‘retro-reflective’ covering them, causing light striking them to bounce back in the direction it came.

          If you want to see something cool, shine it in a misting rain, the beam will be a red needle…

        • Better yet, I have a green laser. Large one sold for daytime industrial use (e.g., indicating items from a distance in sunlight). That sucker is light a light saber at night. So powerful, it has a child safety lock on it.

          Big boy toys.

  14. I taught these rules to my kids from the time they were old enough to pick up a handgun and never had any trouble with them and now they have their own children to teach

  15. Wow. Thank you for sharing this experience. Even seasoned carriers and gun nuts like me need a reminder that lives can be ruined in seconds with our favorite tools of the trade. I’ve made a couple big mistakes that thankfully didn’t lead to death or injury, and they’ve taught me to be extra cautious with firearms and where I leave them when not using. Take care and thanks again.

  16. If you have a firearm in the house TEACH YOUR CHILDREN how to handle firearms. My folks started me off at about 5. I used the same basic technique to demonstrate to my children and grandchildren how dangerous guns can be that my Dad used. Blow a watermelon apart with your pistol. It gets the message across quickly! Follow that with the 4 rules. Teach them how to check to see if a gun is loaded. Have an ”open door” policy of letting the kids handle your firearm basically whenever they want to under your supervision. That way you can ensure they handle it safely and it will ”demystify” the weapon at the same time.

    • next door neighbor’s dad had a jap rifle we used to play with routinely…never saw any ammo around though…think it was hard to come by…

  17. When I was a kid, the next door neighbors had removed a few boxes from the attic and left their middle school aged son and daughter home alone. The son pulled a pistol from a box and accidentally shot his sister. Fortunately, 1) He was waving the gun around and not aiming at her center mass or head and didn’t hit anything vital and 2) it was a .22LR. She recovered nicely.

  18. Sad story. Painful to read. But from those losses, powerful lessons. That is how tragedy becomes wisdom, and lives lost become lives saved.

    At age 9, my friend and I were mis-behaving with a bb gun down in the basement. As I pointed the gun at a metal camping pot, I told my friend to hold the lid close to his face. A split second after I pulled the trigger, the bb ricocheted of the pot and onto the lid my friend was using as a shield. That ping was trauma for me. He laughed, but my guts tied into knots. I do not recall firing that gun ever again.

    Four years ago, just before Trump was elected, I purchased a couple of Glocks and some one-on- one training. That was the next time, after age 9, that I fired a gun. Now, I love to shoot and am fastidious about safety. Nothing like the tragedy in the above story, but I am confident that God teaches and God loves.

    • remember aiming my bb gun at myself in our large dresser mirror when it went off producing the predictable little bullseye which served as a reminder for years to come…my Dad was so damn mad he tried to break the gun in two over his knee…just wound up hurting himself but I didn’t dare laugh…gun survived but the accuracy suffered…

  19. I bought my mother a green laser for her M&P 9mm 2.0 that’s loaded with Critical Defense. The reason is it’s her nightstand gun, she has a German Shepherd that isn’t stupid enough to even pay attention to the laser, she’s 87 and has AMD and glaucoma. She picks up the green much better then then the red laser.

    If someone were to break into the house in the night she has a nightlight on but the dog would be on the person rather quickly. While Critical Defense is not a not a super hot load the two things it has going for it is has very little recoil and flash.

    Should trouble ever occur the pan is to let the dog deal with the intruder until mom can grab her gun. She is to put the laser in the chest or head area and let the bullets fly. With the laser she will avoid the hitting the dog even though someone breaking in would be rather stupid, the house has motion sensors outside and the dog would go nuts if she someone outside near the house in the middle of the night.

    The article is well within my moms abilities with a gun, she knows it isn’t a toy and would never just play with it. My dad never taught her to shoot, I did. She used to have a .357 but she was in her 60s. It was loaded with .38+Ps. She carried it in a purse that was given to her by a CPD LEO that had a compartment in the middle that was held tight with Velcro. Those days are gone, just about every week I have to take her to some doctor or outpatient appointment, she is coming up on 90. No guns in most doctors offices and never in an outpatient center affiliated with a hospital. The moral is in certain situations lasers do have a place.

    As for dacian and his tritium sight nonsense, buy LE ammo. In most calibers HSTs or Gold Dots have no or little muzzle flash. You can empty a magazine and it isn’t going to effect your ability to see your sights. If you have decent tritium sights that are say less then 7 or 8 years old, “muzzle flash” is a non factor. There are people on YouTube who do ballistics tests and will do 5 shots in daylight for grouping and accuracy followed by 5 night shots for muzzle flash. LE ammo is the way to go if you are worried about being blinded be muzzle flash in low light when carrying. In the house you should have a flashlight on your bedside gun or a dog or two.

    The best of both worlds is “Be sure of your target, and know what is beyond it.” My dogs aren’t going to attack or bark at someone I know or who lives in my house plus I’m pretty sure that cop shooting his son story is an urban myth. If I was attacked on the street I trust my tritium sights, the range I go to has lanes that are low light and my Trijicons serve me just fine.

    • “I’m pretty sure that cop shooting his son story is an urban myth.”

      A cop near me heard a bump in the middle of the night. He went to check it out with his gun, and saw a shadowy figure. He took a shot, but it was his teenage daughter sneaking back into the house. She got hit but lived. He got fired from his job.

      • While I’m not completely doubting you, dacian yes but does anyone have a citation to any of this? I heard this story about 25 years ago and back then it was an urban myth.

        Its always a “cop”, the kid is a teenager either sneaking into the house, coming home late or from college. A citation would be nice, I know dacian isn’t going to provide one.
        If the cop lived by you it would pretty easy to find a news article about it.

        Every version I have ever heard was an urban myth or legend and also usually involves a Glock. Cops, Glock, ND in the middle of the night involving their teenager.
        Some sort of citation would be nice, Thanks in advance.

        • I already gave you a verified citation. Gun week was in business for decades and was a well known and respected source for firearms news. I think too that the other poster or posters simply refused to believe that the boy being killed was the one and only incident (this is denial or foolishness) and although I am not familiar with the story about the girl being wounded I have no doubt scenarios like this happened and do continue to happen very often.

          Now think about it, you have a glowing sight that can only be seen in very dark circumstances, a person in the house frightens you and you cannot identify the person and you open fire. The tragic results will often be just what happened to both the boy and the girl.

          Moral of the story, I use a flash light or if no other option just flick on a light, I would rather be shot myself by an intruder than take the chance of shooting a member of my family because I went “Wyat Earpie” and started just blasting away.

        • “Dude”,

          I believed you even though I heard a very similar story in the 90’s at the range I used to shoot at. The indoor range was hot and the ventilation sucked so I always took breaks and slammed down something cold to drink in the front where the gun-shop was and then went back to shooting. The range was at least 100 degrees and almost smoky. You would literally blow out black snot for a day or two. The store was 70 degrees and the employees were bored or would show you guns, it was a chance to make a sale.

          We always used to BS about current events and the general consensus of the employees was it was an urban legend. This was in ’95-’96 before they greatly improved the range. This was one of many things we BSed about, it wasn’t the pandemonium it is now. For example 5 years ago we had the Carhartt jacket discussion, other things would be stuff like how far off is the POI on the first or second shots in a “cold” barrel, 10mm dead caliber, just general gun BS.

          I seldom shoot indoors now, while it’s cool that a lot of people are becoming new shooters, some of them are downright dangerous. I’ll drive a couple of hours and shoot outdoors all day, very few newbies on 200 yard rifle ranges. Plus the RSOs watch for dangerous shooters and correct them w/o acting like aholes. A lot of the indoor range RSOs are on power trips but the range I used to shoot at doesn’t have one, they have video surveillance.

          With Covid most of the lanes are full and people are trying out their new and maybe never ever shot a gun because they are allowed to buy two boxes of ammo with their new gun. While it’s fun to help someone out with fundamentals you have to do that in an a room between the range and store.
          It’s difficult to talk when you have your ears on. I’m there to shoot, not give lessons to people who immediate forget everything I said. For some reason people want pictures taken with their phones of them with a target in one hand and their gun in the other. I’m not there for that.

  20. Thank you for this story.
    I can see killing yourself after shootzing ur girlfriend .
    Better then , ” MentalMidget dislikes me on Facebook. ”
    I pointed a rifle at my sister once. Dad gave it to me to shoot a black snake eating eggs. Sis told Dad. Next day showering after gymn ,when ask about the bruises I told the guys one of our horses trampled me.
    I did get that snake though

  21. I taught my kids a version of that, based on what my dad taught me. One difference was that the chamber should be clear until you are ready to fire.
    But it struck me that in order for someone to be hurt, you don’t have to violate a safety rule, you have to have violated ALL of them.

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    “Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 11:27 PM EDT
    SIDNEY, Ky. (WYMT) – Daulton Mahon’s family and friends gathered together Friday to celebrate his 18th birthday. It was a party complete with balloons and memories, but the birthday boy was unable to attend.

    Daulton died in February 2020 after what his mother Kendra Mahon called a “tragic accident.” While taking a shotgun out of a gun safe, Kendra said, the then 16-year-old dropped the gun on its butt, which discharged a buckshot that hit the back of his head and his side, killing him instantly.

    “He knew guns,” she said. “He could take any gun apart, put it back together. Just like any other teenage kid in this area. I mean, we’re from an area where pretty much every one of us grew up around guns and most kids hunt from an early age. And this is instilled in them.”

    She said a little education could change the way people view accidents like her son’s.

    “So many times, people assume that when someone dies from a gunshot wound, it’s self-inflicted or intentional,” she said.

    According to a 2020 report from CBS, around 350 children younger than 17 unintentionally kill or injure themselves or someone else with a firearm every year and around 77 percent of those incidents happen inside of the home.”

    • We don’t restrict basic human and civil rights because of tragic accidents.

      Modern fascists, such as SA-Truppfuhrer miner49er, are constantly looking for any and all excuses to trample on rights.

      Remember Nuremberg.

      • It’s more of his strawman TROLL BS. The article is clearly a ND and his story is an AD.

        Now if TTAG would just “Your comment is awaiting moderation” for him and the trolls for a week then he isn’t being censored. (remember he said that since Facebook was private, no ones 1st amendment rights were being violated)

        If Minors and dacians comments showed up say sometime around 8/15 we could get rid of the trolls.

        “Your comment is awaiting moderation” for Minor49 and dacian and few others for a week would make TTAG a much better forum. No strawman or sealion BS.

        It’s one thing to have a discussion where people have different point of views on something, being an outright TROLL is quite another. I know people who read TTAG but will never make a comment, they say they don’t want to deal with the TROLLS.

        This way they get their TROLLING in, just a week later. Make them work for it.

        • 🎵🎶 …I’m just a demented troll…🎵🎶

          🎵🎶…and everywhere i go….🎵🎶

          🎵🎶…life goes on …🎵🎶

          🎵🎶…without me…🎵🎶

        • You’re completely delusional SA-Mann dacian. You’re the nazi. You’ve admitted, or claimed to be, at any rate, a member of antifa. Nothing but a brown shirt .org.

          How many minority owned businesses did you and your fellow jack boots burn and loot in your ‘mostly’ peaceful protests?

    • I just read a story where a dog put its paw between the trigger gaurd and the shotgunm went off and killed the owner.
      Read another story of a guy clubbing a snake with the shotgunm buttstock and somehow the snakes tail got wrapped around the trigger and killed the guy.
      And now your story Miner49er about another accidental death involving a shotgunm.
      Sounds to me like somebody ought to ban shotgunms.

      • once took my grandaddy’s double barrel with external hammers grouse hunting…I thought getting it cut down to barely legal would make it more handy in the thick brush but wound up entangled with both barrels under my chin and the gun cocked…a seriously, sobering moment…never tried that again…

    • had an issue with an AR-15 and one of those big, fancy target grips..went to manually cycle a rd and when the bolt closed the gun went off…not sure why…but it made me leery of that aftermarket stuff..

    • “the then 16-year-old dropped the gun on its butt, which discharged a buckshot that hit the back of his head”

      he dropped it and the discharge hit him in the back of the head?

  23. I’ve never been a fan of anything that requires a battery for a tool I ultimately plan to stake my life on. Besides adding bulk and weight to my Sig 365, the stock sights glow brightly on the dresser next to my bed and when I have shot in the dark I’ve had no problems with “muzzle flash” and not being able to recover. (I carry Hornady Critical Defense 115s)

    I’d add “Batteries” to the 3 things that will always give you trouble over time, then we’d have 4 to match the 4 critical rules of firearms safety. As in, “If it has tires, a propellor, tits, or a battery, eventually you’re gonna have problems with it…”

    • I loath laser sights, but this is the exception. I have no love for Crimson Trace, their products seem to break right after the warranty ends. My mom is going on 88 and in reasonably good health. The harsh reality is her eyesight is failing due to the AMD and glaucoma.

      She can pick up the green laser great in low light, it’s basically point and shoot. This way she doesn’t hit the dog, just the perp. If the laser breaks and it will, it’s worth it to have a gun she can shoot. I doubt that would ever happen, you would have to be pretty dump or drugged out to break down a door with a German Shepherd going nuts on the other side but who knows?

      The one thing I will say about Crimson Trace is they do hold zero and the one that’s on my moms gun was discounted because when I was in a stupid mood I bought one and wouldn’t you know, the battery tab inside broke off when I was changing the battery out. It was 6 months out of warranty so I asked if I could send it in and pay to have it fixed. That was a big NO, they just exchange them. I said I needed one for a M&P 2.0 compact and they deducted the price of the broken one from the new one and gave me another 20% off and free shipping. It was basically $100 for the green laser on her gun.

      It’s a gun that she can handle, the Hornady Critical Defense 115 has almost a mouse fart recoil and at the range where she puts that green dot the POI is within an inch. She actually used to carry but now she is more likely to have her purse snatched. She is on drops for the glaucoma and PreserVision for for the AMD which was diagnosed last October. Her eyesight w/o correction is 20/50 which isn’t bad and she still drives. Granted she wont drive far, usually to the grocery store or someplace within a few miles. She wont drive to her doctors and never in the show, I actually have to take her Tuesday to her ophthalmologist for a pressure check. Two hours of BS for a minute check.

      That all being said you are correct but Crimson Trace wants to keep me happy, they were bought by Smith and Wesson and I buy a bunch of things from S&W. If you break into my house you are going to have to deal with TWO German Shepherds and the bullets be shot are going to be from something much larger with Gold Dots and shot by a gun with Trijicons on it.

      If the SHTF there is a Benelli M4 within reach.
      That has some muzzle flash but it will clear the house.

      • Be careful with the shotgunm. as Miner49er and I have pointed out they seem to quite dangerous to their owners.

  24. A local family was well-liked by one and all. Dad and eldest son went deer hunting every year and dad carried a revolver in his car, as he made sales calls downtown.

    Mother hated guns and was out to make sure that “her baby” (youngest son) never touched one.

    So he never did. Until, one day while cutting classes with some buddies and his gf, he pulled out the key to his father’s gun cabinet, removed a shot gun, and began clowning around in front of his friends.

    “He pointed the 12-gage at his girl and pulled the trigger. The gun was loaded and the girl was dead. The boy hanged himself several days later. People in our town didn’t know what to say to the family, so most of them said nothing — ever again.

    Guns don’t kill people; people kill people. The boy who broke literally every gun safety rule killed that girl, but in a big way, so did his mother in her unreasonable demands, and so did the father, by going along with her. If the boy had been trained in gun safety, the girl would probably be alive today. True story from a town near Erie, PA.

    • If the guns had been locked up and unloaded it probably would not have happened. Remember kids will be kids and do dumb things no matter how much training you give them. If there is anyone out there that claims he or she did not do dumb things as a kid or teenager they are a damn liar.

        • I’m going to disagree on the locked up and unloaded thing. Yes my siblings and I did dumb things but WE all knew where the key to our fathers gunsafe was. I was also taught to never play with guns and they were not toys. This was drilled into my head when I was 4 or 5. He kept his ammo hidden in the pantry, the safe was in the master bedroom and they key was hidden in his workshop in the basement.

          There was no “playing” with guns ever, you would get the belt for that. I never pointed a gun at anyone unless I intended on shooting them but by then I was no longer a kid or teenager and that isn’t a lie.

        • Some of the time Jethro W M you are so ignorant you do not have to lie. Let that one sink in for awhile.

        • SA-Mann dacian. You uneducated, low iq brown shirt. Nothing you say will ‘sink in’. Has any one ever said ‘I learned something from SA-Mann dacian’?

          With the possible exception of another low iq recruit for the SA/antifa?

  25. Um, the girlfriend was a victim of violence, gun related violence at control (intent or not) of another. Accidental, criminal, stupid or not. Let’s not get too PC about it otherwise. ‘Tom’ if he exists (heard my share of apocryphal tales, and how they’re usually told) committed suicide another thorny issue of the self inflicted kind, that many are still grappling to find categorize in the endless debate vilifying guns and their ownership.

    Of course many paid researchers studying violence have shaped their views to a very narrow definition of violence and the means (i.e. the majority involve a firearm, so why study the other say 48% which have no simple ‘social’ solution, political funding of course).

    Why my stats well define the differences. As have mentioned in comments on TTAG (when not blocked through moderation for some reason, while plenty of the comments above seem to have passed muster), the methodology I haven’t seen elsewhere does a reasonable job of categorizing vehicular violence (intentional, criminal, accidental, stupid or not). It also counters any arguments about the overall (supposedly overwhelming) place of firearms in the debate on violence and it’s causes.

    There is an epidemic of the following here. Clearly criminal violence that will be the sole responsibility of an individual, not a hunk of metal travelling at low speed (high ft/lbs though):

    In addition there are weekly pedestrian hit and runs, stupid negligence (usually later to be defined as possible criminal violence by a DA). But researchers don’t wait around a few years for the results to publish much less have the data retrospectively.

    BTW, I don’t need a job (long and comfortably retired), recognition, intend to compete with someone’s blog following, disrupt or share their supply line of swag. Just want to get this point out there until the NRA, GOA, JPOG or anyone else addresses it as a potential weapon against yet another weakness in the anti-gun stats war. Addressed here in an article (like some other of comments have ended up used for fodder), or in an email.

    Good day Sirs.

    • As you note, the reason non-firearm “violence” gets the attention is simply because memes are more powerful than reason, logic, statistics. “Everyone needs XWZ; no one needs a gun.”

      Always reminded of an instructor in a sales force meeting: “People are persuaded by the depth of your emotion; not the height of your logic.”

    • “(when not blocked through moderation for some reason, while plenty of the comments above seem to have passed muster)”

      most “moderation” is done via word-banning – posts containing certain words (in a text file that the board owner controls) will be auto-moderated or auto-banned. if your post fails just look through it and see if there are any words that you think the board owner might not permit and re-write the post.

  26. Sorry to burst the Laser Bubble, but I digest from the article the importance of the “4 Rules,” rather than the laser craze.

    I too, scoffed at lasers, red dots and gm flashlights until aging eyes kept into the equation. When presbyopia (loss of the ability to focus at near distances) hits, it can advance to the point, that your arms length distance is compromised as well. Then it doesn’t matter if your sights are tritium, florescent paint or plain blued steel, you can’t see them under any condition light or dark or all the levels in between. Then a laser or red dot makes a huge difference in hitting your target. Much cheaper than the hundreds of dollars you’ll spend buying quadrifocals, and easier to use.

    • “Then a laser or red dot makes a huge difference in hitting your target…”

      My only experience with laser gun sights is restricted to observing use at the local range. It is puzzling to watch people spend time trying to steady the laser as if they intended each shot to go through the same hole. My thinking is that if you get the laser anywhere on the body of the target, take the shot. Practicing precision shooting with a laser mounted on a close range firearm (hand gun) can create a bad habit that can get you killed because of hesitation, seeking the perfect hit.

      • I did that very thing with a laser equipped pistol. IMHO it is a real concern. I don’t currently have a laser on a pistol for various reasons.

  27. “I did that very thing with a laser equipped pistol. ”

    Which “very thing”, try to line up the perfect shot, or point and shoot when laser was on target?

    • My bad, Sam. Try to line up the perfect shot. As it turns out there’s truth to that old saw ‘perfect is the enemy of good enough.’

  28. “As it turns out there’s truth to that old saw ‘perfect is the enemy of good enough.”

    Never been a problem for me.

    I barely rate “adequate” in most all things.

  29. All common sense (including the “four commandments”) duly observed: securing firearms from the unauthorized must be the prime directive in one’s home. I have a wife. She’s authorized. I have two adult children. Both of them are. They have seven children between them. None of them is authorized. If even one comes to my house, all firearms have already been locked in a safe except the one that is (maybe) concealed and secured on my person. Obviously, common sense. Sadly, common sense has been “educated” out of most of our population.


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