“A 22-year-old woman told police she was at the Hooters with friends when one of them, Christopher E. Bohn [above] reloaded a handgun and shot her in her ankle,” 2.insidenova.com reports. “The victim was taken to an area hospital with non life-threatening injuries, police said. Bohn, 36, was charged with willfully discharging firearms in a public place, Fairfax County [VA] police said.” It seems pretty clear that Mr. Bohn was showing off his gat at the time of the “accident” (police designation). Obviously that’s a no-no, especially in anything remotely resembling a public place. But there’s another lesson here, one that irks me no end . . .
One of the biggest problems with “gun-free” zones: you have to either leave your gun somewhere or avoid them entirely. Who wants to do that? Sometimes you have a choice; Toys R Us can kiss my NERFs. Sometimes you don’t; even members of the Sovereign Nation movement have to visit government buildings from time to time (including jails).
Worse, many states require that gun owners who want to leave their gun in a vehicle must store their unattended firearm in a locked container in the trunk (or the farthest point in the rear of their SUV) with the ammunition stored separately.
PITA? For sure. For one thing, unloading and reloading a gun in public draws attention to the gun owner. For another, it’s dangerous. A single, simple lapse of concentration can be fatal. Not to belabor the point, the best place to load and/or unload a gun is a “sterile” environment (e.g., a gun range). Not a Whole Foods parking lot.
The vast majority of gun owners observe all safety rules and pay strict attention to what they’re doing when loading and unloading their heater. But, like take-off and landing for a pilot, the bullets-in/bullets-out process is one of the most dangerous parts of regular gun handling. You’re manipulating a loaded weapon.
And what point does it serve, exactly? Aside from the inherent absurdity of gun-free zones (a.k.a, target rich environments) wouldn’t we all be safer if gun owners were allowed to leave their gun holstered throughout their day?
Meanwhile, here’s an idea: talk to yourself when unloading—if only to screen out any distractions. “Safe direction. Mag out. Mag down. Slide back. Gun down. Safe direction. Retrieve bullet. Store bullet. Store gun. Store ammo.” Use a similar monologue for loading.
Guns don’t go off by themselves. You are responsible for your firearm. Carry it responsibly. Load it and unload it safely. That is all.