There’s a lot of talk out there about ‘accidental discharges,’ but it’s hard to say that’s really much of a thing at all. Truth is, if a gun goes off and you didn’t want the gun to fire – chances are it’s more of what we’d call a ‘negligent discharge.’ Simply put – if you’ve ever had a gun go off when you didn’t want it to, you need to be honest with yourself and learn from the experience.
Even in retail environments, you see plenty of examples of customers mishandling firearms. They’ll come in an ask to see the gun. The clerk takes the gun out, locks it open, pulls the magazine and hands it to the customer. Within seconds, most people are closing the slide and putting their finger on the trigger. “It’s not loaded,’ but the truth is – the gun is ALWAYS loaded and should be treated as such. If you don’t handle a gun like it’s loaded all the time, then rest assured you’ll pick one up that is and act like it’s not. And that’s when bad things happen.
There are two foundational rules to handling a firearm.
In November 2013, a man accidentally shot a woman through a hotel wall in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and killed her. He was charged with negligent homicide. The previous year, a man shot and killed his 7 year old boy and when he was interviewed after, he told the officers he didn’t know there was still a bullet in the chamber. Moral of the story here isn’t to scare people – but stress that it’s not about accidents. Accidents can be prevented. Not checking your gun, not knowing exactly how many rounds are in the chamber, carelessly playing around with your firearm – engaging in the kinds of behaviors that lead to these accidents – that’s negligence.
While we might try to see a difference or shed nuance onto cases like these ones – the law does not. And the law is what you need to be concerned with. Be safe all the time and don’t engage in the kinds of behaviors that cause ‘accidents’ to happen in the first place.
Carry on and stay safe!