One of the most legally dangerous places to carry a handgun is in the bathroom. It may not be as legally dangerous as an airport, but it ranks high on the list for the same reason: it creates an environment where it is easy to make a legally dangerous mistake. A church-going lady in Wisconsin found this out. She will recover from the error, but it cost her significant time, money, and stress . . . From jsonline.com:
Susan Hitchler, 66, was charged in April with negligent handling of a weapon, a misdemeanor. The complaint indicated that on March 19 she had left her handgun in a stall of the women’s restroom at Elmbrook Church. A church employee found the gun within a few minutes and turned it over to security. At a hearing late last week, Circuit Judge Lloyd V. Carter ruled on a defense motion to dismiss the case based on a lack of evidence that a crime had been committed. The motion had been argued in May.
The most common way for people to carry concealed handguns is attached to the belt or waist band in some way. When people use a stall in a bathroom, the handgun becomes an impediment. I can imagine the nodding of heads of those who have carried. Nearly everyone has encountered this problem in one way or another. Undo the belt, and the handgun is no longer supported. If you place the handgun on the floor, even if it’s still in the holster, it may be seen from outside the stall. Some solve this dilemma by discreetly covering the holster and handgun inside the clothes at their feet. Others detach the holstered gun and place it out of sight behind the toilet or on top the toilet paper dispenser. Worse, some unholster the handgun and place it in a “convenient” spot. That’s not a good idea. From tampabay.com a detective left his firearm:
There, perched atop a toilet paper dispenser inside a busy bathroom inside a busy movie theater, he discovered the loaded Glock 26, a small semiautomatic weapon.
One from the Missouri Capitol:
Dave Evans, legislative assistant to Republican House Speaker Tim Jones, left a loaded 9mm pistol in a stall at Capitol in Jefferson City, Missouri
One that involves an airport bathroom :
The weapon, a .380-caliber pistol in a black case, was found by a custodian in the restroom near the security checkpoint about 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, according to a Peoria County Sheriff’s Office report on the incident.
In Michigan, a security guard:
An armed school security officer hired in response to the Newtown shootings forgot to take his gun with him when he left the bathroom.
Those consequences are considerably less severe than if you manage to fumble the handgun and have a negligent discharge in the process. Here is one from Tampa:
Bliss was sitting on the toilet in a hotel bathroom when a woman in the next stall accidentally let her handgun slip out of her waist holster. The weapon discharged when it hit the ground.
It can happen. There are almost no modern handguns that will discharge when dropped. If someone grabs for their gun as it’s falling and contacts the trigger…that is another scenario. It is a good reason to have some form of retention device on the holster, and to keep the handgun in the holster when you are in the bathroom. If you keep the holster on your belt or waistband, you are fairly well assured of not leaving the firearm behind. To sum up: in the bathroom, be sure to maintain control of the firearm when undoing belts or clothes. Don’t inadvertently display the gun to others who might view it from outside the stall. Do not remove your gun from the holster and set it down; do not remove your holster from your belt or waistband and set it down; if using a fannypack, purse, or other detachable container, keep it in sight. Check the security of your gun when you rearrange your clothes; check the bathroom to make sure you have not left personal possessions when you leave. Consider shoulder holsters, they might work for your needs. Do not be the next person on the national news who left a gun in a public bathroom.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch