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(courtesy The Truth About Guns)

A 21-year-old man accidentally shot his father in the leg Monday night while cleaning a .22-caliber rifle at a cabin in Ogden,” reports. What is it with cleaning firearms and negligent discharges? I don’t know about you but I have never been in any danger of cleaning a loaded firearm. Unload, clean. Seems instinctive to me. Yes, you have to pull the trigger on some handguns before you can remove the slide (e.g. GLOCK-brand GLOCKs). All the more reason to be sure the firearm’s clear and safe and point it in a safe direction before pulling the bang switch. I think this whole “cleaning a gun and it went off” thing started with the police . . .

When a police officer commits suicide, his or her higher-ups have been known to manipulate the official report to state that the officer died from an accidental discharge while cleaning the gun. The officer’s survivors get full benefits, the cop’s rep is protected and who’s really hurt from that anyway?

The only negative effect: the idea that it’s common for people to shoot themselves – or others – while cleaning their firearms. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. But it’s always a “negligent discharge” when it does and it just doesn’t happen often. OK, so, back to our story . . .

Earlier in the evening, the man and one of his friends went shooting and came home about dark. A couple of hours later, the man decided to clean the rifle, police said. He claims he took the magazine out and cleared the gun, but when he sat down, his finger accidentally pulled the trigger and a chambered round discharged, according to Weber County Sheriff’s Sgt. Lane Findlay.

The bullet struck the man’s 49-year-old father, shattering his femur, Findlay said.

How could the unnamed man have cleared the gun when he didn’t clear the gun? More to the point (of our headline), how does one’s finger operate independently of one’s will? That’s some spooky sh*t right there. Or not. In fact, this story fails to state the blindingly obvious: the man broke at least three of the four safety rules. The only question is, did his finger fall or was it pushed? A question yet another journalist fails to address.

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  1. What’s with the “glock brand glock” thing? I see it all the time. Where the hell did it come from?

      • That video, which won, Greg’s contest he runs about once a year, inviting people to do a parody of him, was awesome.

        Hickok45 (Greg) routinely tosses his mags and handguns rather roughly on to the leather draped over his shooting table outside is a great guy and the fact that he enjoys a good parody is awesome.

    • Probably from the tendency of the MSM to refer to every semi-auto pistol as a Glock. In order to specify that you really are refering to a particular pistol it has become a form of sarcasm to say “Glock brand Glock” as opposed to say, a Colt or Ruger Glock.


      • That, and it’s become a popular meme to refer to any of the “other” polymer pistols as “funny looking Glocks.”

  2. Maybe guns are magical talismans that operate independently of their owners. Snuck a boolit in when they warn’t lookin’LOL

  3. “I don’t know about you but I have never been in any danger of cleaning a loaded firearm.”

    I did it once. After cleaning my revolver, and reloading it, I decided stupidly, to clean the outside of the firing pin. Oops. I learned my lesson. (Still embarrassed years after).

  4. “He claims he took the magazine out and cleared the gun,…”

    It sounds like he cleared the gun, then took out the magazine.

    • Yup. Happens more often than people think. That’s why armories should have clearing barrels…just in case we forget the order.

  5. I’ll tell you what I’m noticing. People just start racking the slide/charging handle then jerk the trigger. Watch anyone with a striker fired handgun and you’ll see it. No one ever thinks about it. Extractor could be broke. The round might not eject. Etc etc. It’s so bad I’ve noticed seasoned shooters click their gun while walking off the line. Just plain complacent.

  6. “higher-ups have been known to manipulate the official report to state that the officer died from an accidental discharge”

    How do we know that has happened? And if it did and we knew it, then the officer’s survivors benefits would be denied/revoked and the cop’s rep sullied, right?

  7. A law school classmate (former Sheriff’s deputy in a rural county), told me that suicides were sometimes ruled “accidents” when they knew the deceased had left nothing to his family but a life insurance policy. Just so his kids would be taken care of. This was non-law enforcement suicides, but I’m sure it happens as you said.

  8. “…and who’s really hurt from that anyway?”

    Uh, insurance companies, taxpayers, basically everyone. Money obtained through fraud doesn’t come out of thin air. I doubt it’s just cops. Most life insurance is ‘no pay’ for suicide. The incentive is there to report suicide as accident if you can get away with it.

    • Almost all life insurance policies pay out for suicides as long as the policy is beyond the (typically two year) contestability period.

  9. Apparently having formed the intent is sufficient to be considered to be “cleaning” a firearm. You don’t have to have put solvent to steel, or done any disassembly, or even unloaded it. Kind of like putting the baby to bed while making love to your wife.

  10. If you have any ammo with you except for what is in your carry gun after a range trip, you’re doing it wrong.

  11. “How could the unnamed man have cleared the gun when he didn’t clear the gun?”

    It is quite common for .22LRs to have a round stuck in the chamber. The chamber gets really dirty+ a weak extractor (common on old .22’s) and presto…negligent discharge. He probably thought he did clear it.

    I guess he did clear the weapon. A sand barrel is preferred to someone’s thigh though.

    • He may have worked the action, but he didn’t “clear” it. Clearing requires you to positively verify that the chamber is empty, visually or by touch. Just yanking the charging handle or slide back and forth isn’t clearing.

  12. Visually inspect the chamber. Was drilled into me with push-ups. Now I cant handle a gun without it. Self discipline. Every time you fail to do it when you should’ve, smoke the shit out of yourself.

  13. Some tube fed lever 22’s (or wmr) would lead you to believe after working the lever several times and not seeing a round fly out that they are empty. . . . . . .not always the case.

    After shooting and clearing the firearm, I push a thin wood dowel into the tube, marked at the top where it should stop if there are no bullets in the tube, if not, I have a problem.

    I know this sounds nutty but the possibility of storing it away with a round in it is not exciting to me.

      • If it’s not a self- or home-defense weapon, why not store it unloaded? Unless you have a really bad squirrel problem, keeping a lever-action .22 ready to rock-and-roll doesn’t seem all that necessary.

  14. The only .22 I know of that would chamber and fire a round by pulling the trigger is the Gevarm. They work with an open-bolt mechanism. But without the magazine, it would have only closed the bolt and not fired.

    I’m calling BS on this one.

  15. I guess you close your eyes when you clean a gun, huh, beats me how it goes bang, duh, I didn’t know it was loaded. I try my best to stay away from those idiots.

    I have a Taurus PT24/7 Pro LS DS 9mm.
    To clean it, one must REMOVE THE MAGAZINE!
    Rack the slide which will eject any chambered round.
    LOCK the slide to the rear/open position.
    Remove the slide pin, slowly release the slide, pull the trigger while pushing the slide forward.
    Slide and barrel com off.
    I have had this pistol for 3 years and NEVER had an AD or ND.

  17. When a police officer commits suicide, his or her higher-ups have been known to manipulate the official report to state that the officer died from an accidental discharge while cleaning the gun. The officer’s survivors get full benefits, the cop’s rep is protected and who’s really hurt from that anyway.

    How true. When I worked in the Superior Court, a Providence police officer told me that when a cop “wants to eat his gun”, this is what you do.

  18. There’s a word for people whose guns discharge during cleaning.
    They’re called liars.

    It’s the story you make up when you’re stupidly screwing around with a gun that you assume to be unloaded and pull the trigger.

  19. My Walther ppq requires a trigger pull to remove the slide as well. So the cleaning process goes like this:

    drop mag and set it aside, lock slide to rear ejecting round in chamber set round with magazine, visual and physical inspection of chamber and mag well to make sure pistol is clear, tap slide release, point in safe direction, pull trigger, pull down on slide lock and ride slide forward off of the frame…

    if i get interrupted in the process, go back to start.

    Maybe this is a bit of overkill but so far I’ve never had an ND and as long as i go through the exact same procedure each and every time i never will.

  20. The closest I’ve come to this kind of stupidity was racking the slide BEFORE removing the magazine in my P226, very early on in my gun-owning days. I went to put the gun back in the holster and then back into the closet, and all the sudden I had the funny feeling that I’d done something wrong.

    So I immediately looked down the barrel to see if I had a round chambered, and when I still wasn’t sure, I pointed the pistol at the bed (nice soft place for a bullet to land) and pulled the trigger. Whoops, wife was still sleeping there!

    Oh wait, sorry, I’m not an idiot. I drew the gun from the holster, pointed it in a safe direction, and racked the slide, watched a round get tossed out, racked again to be super-extra-safe, and put it all away again. Because again, not an idiot.

  21. There’s a good reason I don’t allow any ammunition near my cleaning area. Clear the firearm, relocate the firearm, check clear again (obsessive compulsively), and clean. It’s worked out fairly well so far…


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