Sunday, June 03, 2007

Man injured in accidental shooting at gun show

It has been awhile since I have posted commentary on gun safety. This incident at the High Caliber Gun Show in Houston on Saturday gives me the opportunity to mention firearm safety once again.

From ABC13 Eyewitness News:

There's been a shooting at a gun show at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston.

Authorities say a man accidentally shot himself in the hand Saturday afternoon, with his own gun. He was taken the hospital and is expected to be OK.

The man told authorities he forgot the gun was loaded. No one else at the gun show was injured.
The local gun forums are all abuzz over this incident. It appears that the firearm involved was a Glock 23, and that the individual was checking the action after installing a new (part?) when the negligent discharge occurred.

During gun shows, the George R. Brown Convention Center has large signs stating "No Loaded Firearms Allowed". There are also several uniformed officers (off duty I believe) at the entrance checking weapons and tie-wrapping actions. The tie-wrap acts as a physical barrier to chambering a round, and as a visual indicator to all that the firearm is unloaded. Procedures such as these provide for a safe environment in which we can perform a large number of firearm, and firearm related transactions.

If you have a CHL, and you decide that you are not going to declare your firearm at the entrance to a gun show, the leave that firearm concealed, period. Don't touch it, do not draw it to verify that the new fangled gizmo you just found might fit, and don't show it off to others who are having a discussion about concealed firearms. I always unload my CHL firearm in the truck and check it at the door when I attend gun shows. Granted, I have a means of cutting tie-wraps, and a magazine or two hidden on my person as I go through the door, but the firearm itself can be removed from the holster if necessary.

This was not an "accidental shooting", it was a negligent discharge of a firearm. Stating that this shooting is an accident removes the onus of responsibility from the individual and places it upon the firearm. The responsibility belongs with the individual. Not only did he ignore the four basic rules of firearm safety, he ignored the very obvious posted procedures for entering the gun show with a firearm. I would have absolutely no problem with the promoters of this gun show (High Caliber Gun and Knife Shows) filing a civil suite against this individual for endangering it's customers and employees.

If you own a firearm, it is YOUR responsibility to know, understand and follow the Four Rules of Firearms Safety:

  1. All firearms are loaded - There are no exceptions, period. Know this rule and live it. Handle all firearms accordingly.
  2. Never let the muzzle of a firearm point at anything you are not willing to destroy - If you are not willing to see a bullet hole in it, do not allow a firearm's muzzle to point at it. If you are doing dry fire drills in your home, extra care needs to be made to insure that ammo is not even in the same room as you are. Dry fire drills can be dangerous because they do violate Rule #2.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger unless your sights are on the target - You do not gain any speed at all by keeping your finger on the trigger. Keep it out of the guard until you are sighted on the target. Practice this until it becomes second nature. If this rule were followed 100% of the time, there would be no negligent discharges.
  4. Be sure of your target and what is behind it - Be aware of your surroundings whether on a range, in the woods, or in a potentially lethal conflict. Never shoot at sounds or at a target you can not positively identify.

Tragedies could be avoided if everyone involved with firearms followed these rules all the time.

Fr. Frog lists these rules and other firearm safety procedures here. It is very well put together and even old hands at the firing range would be advised to look it over.

ACE has also commented on this incident here.


Anonymous said...

There was an accidental shooting at the Wannemacher's Tulsa gun show last October. It was a Saturday, I think, and it was before the hall had really filled up. I heard a sound like a 2x4 being dropped on an empty warehouse floor. People looked mildly concerned, but not so much that they dropped what they were doing to see what was going on. As I kept walking, I heard about four people around me drawl, "That didn't sound too good." I only really thought something had happened when I started seeing the security guys running around.

Some idiot had brought in a loaded .410 gauge shotgun for a buyer examine. (Obviously the gun was not zip-tied as it was supposed to be.) The dealer, when handed the gun, did not break it open to perform a safety check before he pulled the trigger.

When it went off pellets hit one person in the leg and an old man in the head. Both wounds were superficial. The old man complained of faintness and almost passed out.

The buyer's booth was empty within an hour. I heard a rumor the guy pleaded with Joe W. to be allowed to come back next year, but he's banned for good.

Definitely not happy about that incident. Doing that show and so many others you get used to turning your head and staring down the barrel of a gun 100 feet away. You don't think about it after a while. You think, "Well, the gun owner would have to screw up (leaving it loaded), the gun show would have to screw up (not correcting or ejecting the jerk for carrying it zip-tied) and the buyer screwed up (not performing a visual check.) How often does that happen?"

Google "tulsa gun show accidental discharge" and there's a thread on about it.

John R said...


I had read about the negligent discharge at the Tulsa show.

People do feel too safe at a gun show and disregard basic firearm safety. All the guns are unloaded, right? Makes for a bad practice. Diligence in safe firearms handling should be engrained, a part of you.