Gun Safety: Are Negligent Discharges Inevitable?

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An “accidental discharge” is more accurately known as a negligent discharge (ND). One second you’re admiring a brilliantly designed and executed piece of wood (or plastic) and steel and the next…your ears are ringing, you’re blinking furiously, you smell smoke and the unmistakable odor of gunpowder.

Your first conscious thought: “Oh sh!t!”

If you’re fortunate, the only holes that resulted are in furniture, walls, or appliances rather than yourself or someone else. If it was a rifle round, there will tend to be rather more holes than if it was a handgun round. If you’re really fortunate, no one else was aware of your ND, somewhat minimizing the damage to your self-image.

Police officers are often thought to be experts in the handling of firearms. This, as I explained in another post, ain’t necessarily so. Police agencies are severely handicapped by being limited to recruiting solely from the human race, as these anecdotes reveal:

A Sweetwater, Fla., police officer was recovering Monday after his holstered gun discharged and hit him in the leg while he was chasing shoplifting suspects at Dolphin Mall.

The officer, Joel Bosque, was responding to a shoplifting report at the mall when he was injured. He was taken to the hospital and is “doing fine,” police spokesman Jorge Fernandez de Lara said.

Bosque, who has been with the department for a year, will likely be placed on administrative leave while Miami-Dade police investigate, the Miami Herald reports.

Ah yes; another of those mysterious cases of a holstered gun going off all by itself.

The Winchester (Va.) Police Department is taking a close look at its officers’ weapons holsters after an officer’s gun accidentally went off in a special needs school bus.

The incident occurred Monday morning when a middle school student reached for a police officer’s gun, reports TV3Winchester. Fortunately, no one was injured.

The officer had been dispatched to the bus to calm down the student. While the officer was sitting next to him, the student reached over and put his finger on the trigger of the weapon. The bullet went through the seat and hit the floor.

A close look at holsters? Good idea.

The veteran Lloyd (N.Y.) Police officer who accidentally fired his service weapon in a high school hallway has resigned after an internal investigation faulted him for the incident.

Sean McCutcheon, a school resource officer at Highland High School, had been placed on leave following the incident.

A departmental investigation concluded that the discharge was unintentional and a result of “officer error,” reports the Daily Freeman.

In professional law enforcement agencies, there are consequences for NDs. Unfortunately, the consequences aren’t always limited to suspensions or losing a job . . .

A Dallas Police Department officer fatally shot himself while cleaning his service weapon at home on Monday afternoon, the department announced.

Officer Christopher Pasley died as a result of an apparent accidental discharge.  Officer Pasley, a five-year veteran, was assigned to the Central Patrol Division.

“The department’s Employee Relations Team has been activated to coordinate assistance to the family during this traumatic time,” said Chief David Brown in a release. “I request the citizens of Dallas keep Officer Pasley and his family in their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

This case is particularly painful . . .

Police released the identity of a pregnant woman accidentally shot to death Friday afternoon in Montgomery County, Pa., by her husband, a state trooper.

JoAnne Miller, who was 22 weeks pregnant, was taken to Mercy Suburban Hospital with a gunshot wound to the upper body. She died soon after she was admitted. Doctors performed an unsuccessful emergency cesarean. “The baby never had its own breathing or heartbeat,” Montgomery County coroner Walter Hofman told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The shooting in the home on the 3000 block of Stony Creek Road in East Norriton occurred around 2:30 p.m. Friday, police said. The officer pulled the trigger while taking apart his .45-caliber handgun for cleaning but did not realize the gun was loaded, police said.

“He’s been distraught, cooperative,” said Kevin Steele, Montgomery County first assistant district attorney.

I’m not trying to pick on police officers here. Citizens have their fair share of NDs, too. However, when police officers make that mistake, there tends to be no hue and cry for civilian disarmament. Buyt anti-liberty forces take maximum advantage of the NDs of citizens, citing them as clear evidence that the average Joe or Jane is simply too untrustworthy to be allowed to keep and bear arms.

Since a substantial part of the foundation of the anti-liberty argument is based on the assumption that guns should only be possessed by the police — the “experts” — they can hardly capitalize on police NDs, which tend to remind those paying attention that every one of us is all too human.

This raises the question at the heart of the issue: are NDs inevitable?

There is a venerable saying among those who carry guns every day, which goes something like this: “There are two kinds of gun owners: those who have had a ND and those that will admit to having had a ND.”

Full disclosure: mea culpa, but if you’re looking for true confessions, try tragedy TV. Most, if not all of us can tell a ND story, or know of those of friends or acquaintances who’ve had one. Another way of phrasing the question is to ask if NDs are preventable.

Theoretically, of course, they are. Absent mechanical faults that virtually defy the laws of physics, a holstered handgun with its trigger and trigger guard completely covered by the material of the holster, as long as it remains holstered, isn’t going to “go off” all by itself. A semiautomatic firearm with no seated magazine, with the chamber checked visually and physically, will not fire a bullet if the slide is closed and the trigger is pulled.

Similarly, a revolver with all cartridges ejected, its cylinder carefully visually and manually checked, will not fire if the cylinder is closed and the trigger is pulled. Yet, supposedly cleared firearms somehow manage to fire all the time.

Following the four rules of firearm safety such as keeping one’s finger out of the trigger guard and off the trigger until a millisecond before firing, always keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, never pointing the gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy, physically and visually clearing any firearm before handling it, and doing the same before handing it to another, etc., will, if followed, absolutely prevent NDs.

Yet they happen every day.

It’s human nature, of course. One of the first things I tell my students at the beginning of every school year is they must, from that moment, pay attention to paying attention. It’s a life-long pursuit.

From the moment we’re born, we spend about one-third of our life asleep. If we live to 90, we’ll have slept for about 30 years. How much more of our lives are we willing to miss because we’re not able to be in the moment, to focus solely and intently on what is right in front of us?

When what is in front of us is a potentially loaded firearm — and all firearms must always be handled as though loaded at all times — we can’t afford to become complacent. We can’t afford to give that firearm anything less than our full, intense, and focused attention. If we have a ND, and we follow every other gun safety rule, we may not shoot ourselves or anyone else, but we always blow an enormous hole in our own self-image and, hopefully, we fill that hole with a new resolve to pay attention to the basic safety rules, and to what is happening right in front of us.

The Four Rules of Gun Safety

That’s all it takes: a momentary lapse in attention, failing to do what we’ve done hundreds, even thousands of times before, handling a gun when we’re tired, when we’re upset, when our minds are elsewhere, thinking about something…anything else besides controlling the enormous power we hold in our hands. We — for the most part — know better. Yet we do it anyway.

When that occurs, our explanations are incredibly inadequate. A fellow SWAT trooper who managed to shoot a hole in a locker room wall with his AR-15 could only say: “I thought it was unloaded.” A fellow detective who, while Elk hunting, shot a woman in the arm, said, with horror in his voice, “I thought she was an Elk.”

Is this an argument for restricting gun ownership? If even highly trained and expert police officers have NDs and they kill themselves, their wives, and their children, aren’t guns just too dangerous? Such thinking ignores the enormous positive benefits of gun ownership and use, which are easily discoverable by those willing to do a bit of honest research.

If acknowledging the failings of human nature were sufficient cause to deny the use of technology, there would be no motor vehicles. Excluding suicide, far more people are killed every year in motor vehicle accidents than by gunfire, accidental or intentional. In fact, considering that driving a car is the most complex thing most people will ever do, we should be talking about banning cars far more often than we talk about banning guns. The margin for error, as illustrated by the numbers of injured and dead, is far greater.

The truth is, if we are to live in an advanced technological society, we must accept some degree of risk. We must acknowledge that due to negligence, which is a part of human nature, some people will be injured and some will die as a result. We must always do whatever we reasonably can to minimize such consequences, but acknowledge that they are inevitable.

It is when we turn over to government the responsibility for our lives that life becomes very dangerous indeed, and bad consequences for the individual become inevitable.


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  1. People are stupid. . Stupid people do stupid things. You can’t make people be un-stupid.

  2. “Are Negligent Discharges Inevitable?”

    Judging from the video at the top of the article…stupid people are inevitable.

  3. You can’t clean a loaded gun so how is it that so many try to clean loaded guns?

    For 25 years the first thing I’ve done when handling a firearm either handed to me, picked up from a counter or pulled from a safe is check its status while pointing the muzzle in a safe direction. I don’t know the current status of every firearm in my life but finding that out is the first thing I do when handling any of them.

    • I have wondered about that. I assume, and you know what happens when you assume, that the person was about to start cleaning the gun and mistakenly pulled the trigger before removing the mag and clearing the action.

    • I don’t know the current status of every firearm in my life

      If you keep ALL of them loaded ALL the time that will fix that little problem for you… All of my guns are loaded, all of them are in condition one, I KNOW this, my wife knows this, there is never a question about the status of my guns…

      • IMHO assuming a weapon is loaded without checking it when picking it up is just as stupid as assuming it is unloaded. If it has been out of your direct custody then then the status is a distinct unknown, it needs to be checked but it also needs to be treated as if it is loaded until that status is verified.

        However assuming it is loaded and ready to carry without verification is unsafe as well. Carrying an unloaded gun that you THOUGHT was loaded is worse than taking a knife to a gunfight.

        • The only way one of my guns gets unloaded is by me and only for cleaning and then it is immediately reloaded… I don’t THINK my guns are loaded nor do I ASSUME as much, I KNOW they are loaded and yes I DO still check, ALL my pistols have round chambered indicators, the revolvers are easy enough to do a quick visual, rifles and shotguns are not touched by anyone else and with only two of us in the house confidence is extremely high that there will be no reason to question that…

  4. “Did you mean to do that?”
    LOL. I’d ask for a refund.

    Assume all guns are loaded even when you know they aren’t. After I remove the magazine and clear the chamber, I still aim at an empty couch before pulling the trigger. What sort of highly trained professional moron would aim it at his wife? Are we sure that wasn’t murder?

    I disagree that everyone will have an ND. I remember my granny asking me how I did at a ballgame. I said, “we lost.” She said, “you can’t win them all!” Then my dad said, “well…you can.”

  5. PROTIP: if you own a gun over a year without negligent discharging at least once, you aren’t handling it enough. NDs are a natural part of handling weapons, just like tweaking your back is part of weightlifting and car accidents are part of driving. I ND several times a year because I actually HANDLE and know how to USE my weapons. It makes me a better firearms handler and marksman, and it’s a small part of the price you pay in the sheepdog lifestyle Simple fact is, the “safety mentality” will build mental blocks in your head that will get you killed. You need to be comfortable putting your finger on the trigger and pointing the gun wherever you want no matter the time, place, or status of the weapon. Taking time to check whether the gun is loaded whenever you pick one up will serve to make you hesitate in a personal defense scenario. You fucking safety idiots are going to get people killed all because of this fucking “ND” shaming. Guns are inherently dangerous, you need to accept it.

        • He’s a dumbazz. And a troll. I’ve had exactly one NG in 13 years. At the range. And I had enough sense to have the gat pointed forward. That was 13 years ago. I guess I’m something of a safety guy. With zero coaching or supervision…

    • Bull crap. If this is truly how careless you are, then your driving license needs permanently revoked and your place of employment needs to fire you now.

    • “Guns are inherently dangerous, you need to accept it.”

      Noooo… people are inherently dangerous, guns don’t animate and do things by their selves.

    • “I ND several times a year because I actually HANDLE and know how to USE my weapons.”

      if you *actually* knew how to use your weapons, you wouldn’t have ND’ed in the first place.

      I’ll posit that if you haven’t ND’ed yet, you may be more likely to ND in the future, simply because you’ll be convinced your gun handling is safe.

      (I also have no desire to ever be in gunshot-range of ‘templar’, if I can help it… )

    • Templar
      I have negligent discharges all the time but your wife/mom/sister don’t mind. IDIOT

    • Been handling firearms for over 60 years, since I was 5 years old. I’ve never had a ND. Not once. Why? Because I was raised to respect the dangers inherent with firearms. FUDDS like Templar are closer to the example in the video, than they are real firearms users or more likely never handled a firearm.

    • I ND several times a year because I actually HANDLE and know how to USE my weapons.

      THAT is absolutely the most STUPID statement ever uttered by a human being…

    • Exactly! That’s why I wired the throttle on my dirt bike wide open. Brakes are for pussies!

    • Templar, I have NEVER had a “negligent discharge” and I have handled guns all of my life starting as a teen at the age of 14.
      The Four Basic Rules of Gun Safety were drilled into me by my father, the Marine Corps, the police department and the NYS DOCCS, not to mention the NRA as I am a certified instructor in 8 disciplines.

    • ““I ND several times a year because I actually HANDLE and know how to USE my weapons.”

      This and the whole post, in case no one caught it, appears to be, I’m just gonna say, sly ‘comedic sarcasm’…

  6. “A fellow detective who, while Elk hunting, shot a woman in the arm, said, with horror in his voice, ‘I thought she was an Elk.”

    He must have been Democrat, they don’t know what a woman is.


  7. “There are two kinds of gun owners: those who have had a ND and those that will admit to having had a ND.”

    I’m not so sure about that. I’ve been around guns all my life, my family has always owned guns. I’ve now carried EDC Glock at least half my life, as a young kid I ran around with my. 22 as the other kids did in our area, I’ve used my own guns frequently for practice and fun on the range most of my life and been doing that since I was six (I actually got my first gun, a .22 bolt action, when I was six). I can truthfully say that I have never had an ND nor do I know of any friend or family member that has ever had an ND.

  8. Some self proclaimed experts and Rambo wannabes will tell people the little dingus thingy in the middle of a striker fired is the Safety. No it is not. When the firearm is moving forward the trigger can engage unsuspected obstacles like the button fold on jeans, etc. Same is true if a moving object like a branch engages a stationary trigger.

    To carry a chambered striker fired, etc. without a manual safety it is wise to put a plug behind the trigger. Custom plugs are available however they can be made using the bulbous base cut from a tire valve stem. Shove a holding bolt in the base and use a bench grinder to shape. Time comes to use the weapon pop the plug out with your trigger finger…easy peasy.

      • I know I damn sure don’t/wouldn’t want to be trying if I needed to pull anything out for self defense. Good holster and proper caution when reholstering the firearm are more than sufficient to prevent all that is realistically preventable.

  9. Massad Ayoob has stated that when one police department dropped the Glock because of all the accidental discharges and went over to a traditional “double action only” handgun with a 12 1/2 lb pull that accidental discharges became nonexistent.

    I think that says it all in regards to how “unsafe” the Glock and its clones are. Not only does the Glock have no manual safety but the Glock is not even safe to field strip because you must pull the trigger first to get the slide off. If you forget just one time to check the chamber you blow yourself away or even worse some innocent person and it happens all the time.

    • “I think that says it all in regards to how “unsafe” the Glock and its clones are. Not only does the Glock have no manual safety but the Glock is not even safe to field strip because you must pull the trigger first to get the slide off. If you forget just one time to check the chamber you blow yourself away or even worse some innocent person and it happens all the time.”

      ~85% of gun suicides are comitted with a gun that has a manual safety.

      ~73% of ‘accidental’ police shootings are comitted with a gun that has a manual safety.

      • To Booger Brain

        quote———-~73% of ‘accidental’ police shootings are comitted with a gun that has a manual safety——–quote

        You have got to be the biggest damn liar on this forum. Most police guns DO NOT HAVE MANUAL SAFETIES PERIOD. Beretta and Sig both have police models that are heavy “double action pull only” and they came about because of all the accidental discharges with Glocks. Even Glock came up with the “New York” trigger in response to New York’s demand for a heavier trigger to hopefully make the Glock safer which by the way did not work.

        • “Most police guns DO NOT HAVE MANUAL SAFETIES PERIOD.”


          And evidently you do not understand what percentages are and don’t have enough grasp on the English language to understand what ‘accidental’ means.

          But since you mentioned Beretta: There are over 45,000 Beretta 92’s used by police departments in the U.S. over 90% of them are carried with the manual safety in the fire position.

          But aside from Beretta, and with others included with manual safeties vs guns that do not have a first level safe/fire manual safety … ~73% of ‘accidental’ police shootings are committed with a gun that has a manual safety.

          But if you are going to talk about manual safety you first need to know what a manual safety is and qualify its purpose and function and nomenclature. For example, the Glock has a manual safety and its called the trigger safety… where the Beretta 92 has a manual safety and its described as being used to select safe or fire modes. And contrary to you implying in an effort to support the previous lie you told and still continue to want to put forth, “double action pull only” is not a safety manual.

        • correction: ““double action pull only” is not a safety manual.”

          should have been …

          “double action pull only” is not a manual safety

        • OMG. The irony of dacian, the biggest liar ever, accusing another of lying.

          You cannot make this shite up.

        • and also this from you dacian…

          “Even Glock came up with the “New York” trigger in response to New York’s demand for a heavier trigger to hopefully make the Glock safer which by the way did not work.”

          you need to learn what context and research means.

          and the reason for all that is because New York cops when they drew automatically put their fingers on the trigger with rearward pressure which deleted the Glock manual safety called ‘trigger safety. In other words those New York cops ignored the ‘don’t put your finger on the trigger until ready to fire’ rule because they were so ready to shoot no matter the situation that when they came out of the holster their fingers were already on the trigger.

          Glock didn’t do a different trigger because of accidental discharges due to no manual safety, they did it in an effort to add a ‘reminder’ that the finger was on the trigger by the heavier trigger pull.

        • dacian, the DUNDERHEAD, for your information, every gun issued by the PD’s has a manual issued with it. It is the officer’s duty to READ the manual to familiarize him/herself with the firearm.
          As I have stated before, there is only an “accidental discharge” (actually it’s called a NEGLIGENT DISCHARGE) is when the shooter places his finger inside the trigger guard. Anyone who claims other wise is lying. You know all about lying. and nothing about firearms.
          We are still waiting for you to tell us the firing sequence of a cartridge, Do you even know what a cartridge is?
          While you are at it recite the four basic rules of Gun Safety.

        • 40 cal, right on. dacian the DUNDERHEAD is about as bright as a one watt bulb that went out last week.

        • The only thing dacian knows about negligent discharges (ND) is the one his father had that resulted in the birth of dacian.

        • correction for: “which deleted the Glock manual safety called ‘trigger safety.”

          ‘deleted’ should have been ‘defeated’

        • 3rd try trying to get this posted

          to Booger Brain
          quote————-~73% of ‘accidental’ police shootings are committed with a gun that has a manual safety.——-quote

          Oh what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive. Since the Glock is still the most issued Police gun you are not expecting us to believe this is not true and now its the Beretta instead. Sorry even your right wing buddies are laughing at you. And many police Berettas DO NOT have manual safeties because they are double action only.

          quote———the Glock manual safety called ‘trigger safety. ——-quote

          Booger Brain when are you going to learn that trying to tangle with me on firearms mechanics only results in you making a complete fool of yourself.

          So pay attention now Genius Boy you are going to learn something today if you pay attention to the teacher.

          The common and accepted definition of a manual safety is one that is deliberately engaged and “stays engaged” until it is taken off and it prevents the firearm from accidentally firing when the trigger is accidentally snagged or even deliberately pulled. This is NOT the function of the Glock trigger safety as it is “not” manually engaged by the user. I think even a 5th grader could understand how the Glock safety is supposed to work but DOES NOT work because snagging the trigger will fire off the Glock accidentally. This does not happen with a manually engaged safety. NOW WHAT PART OF THIS DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND GENIUS BOY.

          And by the way Booger Brain the correct terminology for the Glock trigger safety is “passive safety” NOT manual safety. You really made a fool of yourself this time.

        • dacian, the DUNDERHEAD, 10 Pistols with a Manual Safety
          Colt Gold Cup National Match. Colt Gold Cup National Match. …
          Springfield Armory SA-35. Springfield SA-35. …
          Beretta 92 FS. Beretta 92 FS Pistol. …
          Kimber Micro 9. Kimber Micro 9 Pistols. …
          Mossberg MC2c. Mossberg MC2c. …
          Ruger Max-9. Ruger Max-9. …
          Ruger Security-9. Ruger Security-9. …
          Sig Sauer P938.
          99.99999% of police handguns do not have a manual safety. You see a manual safety in a gun fight can be deadly to the officer carrying such a firearm. I personally know of no police dept that issues any of the above listed handguns to its officers.

    • darcydodo…Long before Glocks there were Revolvers without a manual safety or a dingus, drop safety, etc. Almost sounds like if you had it your way you would ban Glocks for safety reasons? If the police dept. you cite had that many problems it says more about the dept. than it does about Glock IMO. Manual safety or not Any firearm can bite you if you do not understand how to handle it properly.

      As for your Glock concerns on removing the slide…Glock triggers in the forward position are flashing neon lights indicating a loaded chamber. Only a complete buffoon who would be clueless about the firearm’s innards anyway would pull the trigger before checking the weapon for clear.

    • dacian, you must never have heard that thing about ignorance, speaking and removing doubt. Ayoob shoots Glock matches on a regular basis. He wins on a regular basis. He’s carried/carries Glocks on a regular basis. You should read his work. Do you know Ayoob? I’ve met and shot with him twice. Not classes. Both were invited events. No, he wouldn’t remember me, but he might remember my 1911s. He commented on them. I’m also a three time grad of the Glock LE armorer school. A ND with a Glock is caused for the same reason as most other ND. Someone pulled the trigger on a loaded firearm and the firearm functioned as designed. That’s a training issue. You embarrass yourself.

      • Thumb safeties are no guarantee there will never be a ND. NDs are caused by people not following proper safety procedures and not the firearm.

        • If you think that is plagiarism then you prove how uneducated you are, fascist dacian.

          That was a mocking.

        • No Jethro the Janitor. Since you were not intelligent enough to come up with your own snappy response you plagiarized mine.

        • Go complain to mommy, storm trooper boy. I made fun of you. Very easy to do. Your lack of education and wit makes it almost too easy.

        • dacian the DUNDERHEAD, Are you now trying to claim that you authored that sentence? I don’t think so. Ant he proper phraseology is “Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.”
          And for your information a “safety on a firearm is a mechanical device prone to failure.”

    • The Glock rules are simple. It won’t go off if the trigger is not pulled. Keep your booger off the bang switch until your really mean it.

    • If it happened “all the time”…with all the Glocks and Glock clones out there…there would be MILLIONS of these. There is not.
      35+ years with guns…many with an issued Glock…ZERO NDs with a Glock or any other gun.
      Not saying it won’t or can’t ever happen in the future, but odds are pretty slim.

    • dacian, the DUNERHEAD, I don’t know what Mr Ayoob on the matter, but I have NEVER heard of a DOCUMENTED and VERFIED discharge of a GLOCK where the shooter did not place his finger inside the trigger guard. But I am sure that could care less.

  10. The number of NDs and people shot while field stripping a glock should be brought up everytime glock supremacy is mentioned. That story about the state trooper killing his pregnant wife just brings home how unsafe that feature is.

    Yeah the glock is the standard for reliability but pulling the trigger to field strip is a fundemental design flaw. And I say this as an owner of a g19 clone.

    • drew, one of my best friends said pretty much the same thing. Even though he has to carry a Glock in a federal courthouse every day he works. He also has to qual everyone and then some. He hates Glocks for that one reason alone, but agrees it’s a training issue.

  11. Seen one and had one. Pretty sure Iv’e posted these here before.

    At the end of each hunting trip as teenagers my brother and I had to listen to the safety lecture (For the 3rd or 4th time each trip) as dad pointed each rifle in a safe direction, and worked the actions of each rifle multiple times before visually inspecting the chamber and pulling the trigger and then stowing it in the bed of the pickup. One time one of the rifles went BANG. I think we all sh!t. Dad recovered from the surprise quickly and said “See! That is exactly why we do this!” At the time we didn’t question it, but later I did wonder if that one was real or if dad had decided to wake us up because we were so bored with the safety lectures that our glazed over as soon as he started.

    Second time, a few years later, probably 18 or 19, I was clearing a .22 before putting it away. I worked the action multiple times, looked in the chamber, pointed it at the floor and BANG! I never did figure out where I went wrong, but the only damage was chipped floor tile.

    Since then I am more careful than the standard safety bullet points. I have not had or seen another one. I will say that after those incidents any time I am clearing a gun my focus is 150% on the gun and what I am doing.

    Obeying the standard safety rules are why no one was inured or killed and nothing expensive was broken in either of these two incidents. But having these two incidents is why I am laser focused and fully awake and attentive when clearing a gun ever since.

  12. Since humans make mistakes, yes. There’s nothing that can be done to take stupid out of the equation. Where extreme attention and caution should be exercised, isn’t.

    Some things are inevitable such as a misfire. However an accidental discharge is something that shouldn’t occur but will because of the stupid human factor.

    I’ve been gun guy for 45 years and never once had a negligent discharge. That’s not because I’m this ungodly smart person because I’m not, it’s because I’m extremely cognizant of the condition of my weapons and how I handle them. Some things you have to be careful of like not running your foot over with the lawn mower or crawling under a car with only a jack which isn’t properly placed with the car on un-level surfaces. Is that stupid? Very much so but people do it and get squished. I’ve been a mechanic longer than I’ve been around guns and I NEVER get under a car without ramps, a hoist or jack stands properly placed.

    One rule I do exercise among the others is all guns are loaded, and ALL my weapons ARE loaded. I don’t have some that are empty and some loaded, or sometimes they are and other times they aren’t, they are all loaded, always. The other rule I’m big on is that I keep my weapon pointed in a safe direction until I’m ready to shoot. My leg, my foot, out my window pointed at neighbors, my dogs is NOT a safe direction.

  13. “A Sweetwater, Fla., police officer was recovering Monday after his holstered gun discharged”

    Stupid gun…

    • On a long enough time scale anything can be inevitable……..we just tend to die first more often than not.

  14. Tjank you for the article. It’s important to bring a little humility and honesty and freshness to a discussion of something like negligent discharges.
    A few thoughts: Cooper’s laws are hugely helpful, but that first one is worded misleadingly. when I as a newbie read it I thought literally very literally, this damn thing is telling me to keep all my guns loaded at all times!! folks, just tell everyone to treat all guns as if they were loaded at all times! enough said on that?
    second, All people are fallible, but some are more fallible than others! boneheaded people do bone-headed things and maybe they ought not to be cops.
    third, a mechanical safety on a firearm logically incrementally lowers your probability of a negligent discharge if you use it. Is that too complicated? also related to this idea, as long as you have gunphobic people or novices in your family a mechanical safety again incrementally lowers the potential for a disastrous event.

    • you were not very bright in the beginning…but you caught on…LOL
      or was English not your first language?
      thanks for being honest…and good points

    • Etfaoin, Seems you aren’t the brightest light on the tree. Reading comprehension then was not up to standard. I have to wonder if it has improved?

      • Of course, you don’t know what ETAOIN represents, but you are sure quick with an juvenile insult.

        • MINOR Miner49er, First I don’t care what ETAOIN “represents”. Second, is it my fault you are about a bright as a one watt bulb that went out last week like him? As well as ETAOIN?

    • As a whole, not individually. You can’t legislate away stupid. Are there people who handle weapons all their life and never have a mishap? Yes. Are there dumb-fucks that should use a knife sharpener? Yes.

      They are inevitable in society.

  15. Complacency kills and often it is not the complacent moron who dies or is injured.

    I have not had a ND, nor has my safety mindset interfered or caused hesitation when deadly force was required. I have handled a variety of firearms, some with and some without external safety mechanisms.

    Humans are fallible, humans do stupid things. It will always remain possible for a ND, but you can always mitigate risk with safety.

  16. No sh*t I had a dream last night a revolver went off when I holstered it! When I opened the cylinder it looked like the primer had discharged but the bullet didn’t leave the case. I just looked at my dream cohorts like WTF? Now this article appears. I’m not gonna touch a fyrearm today, bad juju.

  17. N 1963 AT 13 WAS MY FIRST 22LR , NOW AT 74 ,,, IN MY LIFE TIME HAVE HAD TWO ,,
    … “SHIT O’ SHIT” ,,, SO TRUE ..


  18. all the ones i know of could have been avoided.
    mechanical failure or poor design excepted.

  19. “Excluding suicide, far more people are killed every year in motor vehicle accidents than by gunfire, accidental or intentional.”

    Hey dummy, reducing suicides is one of the prime motivations for people supporting gun rights. It’s dishonest to exclude it.

  20. Pew Research:

    In 2021, the most recent year for which complete data is available, 48,830 people died from gun-related injuries in the U.S., according to the CDC. That figure includes gun murders and gun suicides, along with three less common types of gun-related deaths tracked by the CDC: those that were accidental, those that involved law enforcement and those whose circumstances could not be determined. The total excludes deaths in which gunshot injuries played a contributing, but not principal, role.

    54% of all gun-related deaths in the U.S. were SUICIDES (26,328)

    43% were murders (20,958)

    The remaining gun deaths that year were accidental (549), involved law enforcement (537) or had undetermined circumstances (458).

    • I’ll see that and raise you ….

      *** ~100,000 drug overdose deaths annually

      *** ~250,000 medical malpractice deaths annually

      *** ~2.5 million people annually are seriously injured by glass table tops and about 8% (~200,000) of those die as a result of the very deep and serious cuts into the body damaging internal organs (about 70% of those injured are male, most injuries occurring in people under age 7 and in their early twenties.

  21. Pure rural districts have rates of non-firearm suicide 1.3 times higher than pure urban districts.

    In the case of firearm suicide, however, the range is substantially larger. Pure rural districts have a firearm suicide rate 5 times higher than pure urban districts. The crude rate of non-firearm suicide is 5.66 per 100,000 in pure urban districts compared to 7.44 per 100,000 people in pure rural districts.

    Completely urban districts (35 districts in six states and Washington, DC) have the lowest average crude rate of firearm suicide—1.77 per 100,000 people.

    Completely rural districts (70 districts in 34 states) have the highest average crude rate of firearm suicide, 10.60 per 100,000 people or more than 5 times the rate in completely urban districts.

    Among men 40 and older, white males have the highest rates of firearm suicide. According to the CDC’s Wide-ranging OnLine Data for Epidemiologic Research (WONDER), the firearm suicide rates for males aged 40 and older from 2014 to 2018 are: Non-Hispanic whites 23.48 per 100,000.

    • OFWG, Excuse me for asking but where did you come up with these “statistics”? Did you pull them out of your hat. If it’s the CDC, I would not trust their figures if they were “certified”. You see, the CDC is an ANTI-GUN radical group sponsored by the US government. And I have a hunch that this is dacian the DUNDERHEAD trying to make it look like he has another supporter.
      Don’t go away mad, just go away.

  22. I’ll throw a few metaphors out. The left likes this sort of thing, so lets go with it:
    -People run other people over in cars. Some times its due to negligence, some times its a suicide, some times its accidental and some times it’s homicide.
    -Medical doctors kill an estimated 250-400K patients a year.

    Would we ever consider banning cars or doctors?

    The other thing is that people are mortal no matter their station. I toured the Titan Missile Silo in Arizona this year (Great visit if you get a chance.) One thing that was noteworthy is they had a clearing trap for guns. It was MOST CERTAINLY discharged into several times over the years. These are guys operating and guarding an atomic missile site.

    The reason there’s four rules is that it reduces the chance of a bad day becoming a horrible day. It’s layered protection and the more of the layers we maintain the less likely we are to cause injury or undesired property damage.

    I feel that “everyone will have a ND” is fatalistic, and even if it were the case we shouldn’t have that attitude. It gives license to being cavalier about handling dangerous weapons and encourages complacency. It also makes people more likely to repeat mistakes by justification of things like “well, it was bound to happen” or “it was just my day” instead of an honest follow up evaluation of what actually made the event happen.

  23. At age 10, I picked up my sisters supposedly unloaded 22 pistol, pointed it at a wall, and pulled the trigger. Found out it wasn’t unloaded. Learned a very valuable lesson that day. Never and I mean never assume a weapon is anything but loaded and ready to fire. IDC if Jesus, Mohammed, Budda, or God himself handed me a firearm and said it was unloaded and safe. I will still check condition.
    In the 65 years since that incident, I have not had another ND.

    • “At age 10, I picked up my sisters supposedly unloaded 22 pistol, pointed it at a wall, and pulled the trigger. Found out it wasn’t unloaded. Learned a very valuable lesson that day“

      If you had been a young black male, you would’ve been labeled a ‘thug’ and entered the lifetime prison pipeline

      • MINOR Miner49er, That is doubtful as “young black males” don’t carry a .22 pistol.

    • Mercutio, you know I have heard about these so called “discharges” with the Rem 700 and I am yet to find one instance where it was documented and verified.

      • “The documents, including hundreds of thousands of pages of internal notes and memos as well as hours of video, shed new light on Remington’s efforts to manage the problem — and the fallout.

        Among the revelations:

        Remington has been able to duplicate the alleged problem, both in its own tests and in research by an independent laboratory the company commissioned.
        Remington rejected multiple alternative designs for the trigger, at least in part because attorneys worried that a design change might be seen as an admission of guilt in the product liability suits they were battling.
        Remington has deftly — and legally — used court secrecy provisions to limit the spread of information about the alleged defect. But on multiple occasions, courts have sanctioned the company — including at least one contempt citation—for withholding key evidence.“

        • MINOR Miner49er, CNBC? ROFLAMOBT! I don’t trust anything coming out of an NBC affiliate. The article is replete with sensational rhetoric to bolster what “facts” they claim, but there is no supporting documentation to these allegations. Just the word of a “journalist”. As “journalists” are suspect at best without supporting documentation, this article is less than “proof” of anything other than it supports allegations without the most important thing. Substantiation. I personally own a Rem 700 in .308 and have never had a problem of any kind. (No the gun never fired itself).

  24. So far… I’ve never had an NG. BUT I have had a couple of unintended DOUBLE TAPS with handguns with a light single action trigger pull under, say, 4 lbs. One was with a striker fired Springfield XD that had a Powder River trigger job done on it. I no longer have that one. But the other was with my Beretta 92X, which has a really fine single action trigger after the first double action shot. The Beretta is definitely a keeper.
    And I can see it happening with my recently acquired S&W Equalizer, which is SAO.
    I think the answer is: don’t let up on the trigger until the sights have settled back on the target. But any comments about technique would be appreciated.
    P.S. Never has happened with a REVOLVER (for obvious reasons).

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