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OUR VIEW: Firearm 'accidents' aren't really accidents

Why does it seem to take "accidents" for people to remember guns are extremely dangerous? Although we do report it as an "accidental shooting" or "hunting accident," as the authorities often refer to it, we feel the irresponsible discharge of a f...

Why does it seem to take "accidents" for people to remember guns are extremely dangerous?

Although we do report it as an "accidental shooting" or "hunting accident," as the authorities often refer to it, we feel the irresponsible discharge of a firearm should not be phrased as an "accident."

It takes an outside force to make a gun fire, and with proper gun safety training, these so-called "accidents" don't happen.

That's why when we hear about a couple of incidents like the ones that we've recently reported, we just shake our heads.

Last week, a California man was goose hunting northeast of Mitchell and suffered serious injuries after shooting himself in his hands. Authorities said the man stood his gun on its end, rested his hands on top of the barrel and leaned on the gun, which then fired and shot through both of his hands.

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Just by hearing the report from law enforcement, we pick out several gun safety mistakes this person committed.

First, we wonder why anyone would feel it's a smart idea to put their hands near the area where the projectile shoots out of the barrel of the firearm. We also question anyone who would lean on a gun.

The first rule in learning how to handle a gun is to always act as if it is loaded. Had this man done that, he would have never put his body in harm's way.

We also learned the gun's safety was not activated, which is another elementary rule of handling a firearm: Keep the gun's safety on until it's time to fire.

Aside from this incident, we also heard of an Avon man who "accidentally" shot himself in his home. Authorities said the man had a 9 mm pistol in the pocket of his coat, which fell to the floor and triggered the gun to fire. The bullet struck the man's stomach and went through his shoulder.

While this incident seems much more "accidental," we cannot help but think of how properly holstering the pistol or keeping in a case when not in use would have avoided the shooting.

Incidents like these give gun owners and guns in general a bad name, and that's not fair.

These "accidents" don't happen when people are responsible and properly handle their guns.

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So have these people not suffered enough? Why must we kick these folks when they're down?

We don't intend to single out these two individuals, and we wholeheartedly wish them both a full and speedy recovery. We simply wish to bring to light their gun safety practices in an attempt to prevent future "accidents."

Accidents happen. Haphazard gun handling shouldn't. We hope these incidents serve as a grave reminder of that.

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