Earlier this month, I called my dad to wish him a happy 4th of July. As soon as the conversation began he said to me, “I’m going to visit John (name changed) today, he just had his leg amputated and he’s not dealing with it very well.”
John is a family friend of ours who we’ve known for over 30 years so obviously I asked my dad what in the world happened to him.
Well, John and his son had gone to the shooting range not too long ago. When John got back from the range he decided to clean his gun. While cleaning his gun he accidentally shot himself in the leg. The doctors tried to save the leg but it wasn’t possible. To save him from infection they had to amputate the leg just above the knee.
What I’m about to say next may sound too tough in this circumstance, but there is no excuse for these types of accidents. It’s horrible that John lost his leg, but he could have shot someone else too or even killed himself or another person because he wasn’t being safe while cleaning his gun.
These are the types of accidents that make people think guns are “evil” and that nobody but the government should have them.
The fact is, when cleaning a gun there are some simple rules that need to be followed, and if you follow them you will never have an accident:
1. Never clean your gun with anyone else in the room. Find a special place where only you’ll be while cleaning your gun. Tell your family members you’re about to clean your gun and not to interrupt you.
2. Never clean your gun with any ammunition in the same room. I don’t think I need to expand on this one.
3. Don’t listen to music or watch TV or have any distractions. I hear far too many stories of people who clean their guns in front of the TV and accidentally shoot themselves. Since a gun is a serious tool that needs to be respected, you shouldn’t be doing anything else while cleaning and handling it.
4. Wear eye protection while cleaning your gun. It only takes one spring to hit you in the eye or a splash of gun cleaner in the eye to make you a pirate.
5. Watch the muzzle of the gun at all times and never point the muzzle of the gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy. (I always keep my muzzle pointed at my bulletproof panel I use when cleaning my gun.)
6. Unload your gun in a room other than where you’ll be cleaning it and then triple check that your gun is unloaded before you begin to clean it.
As I was finishing up this article, I read a local news story about a man who shot his girlfriend in the leg while cleaning his gun. I hate to hear these stories because it’s so easy to avoid these types of accidents.
The next time you clean your gun, remember the advice above. Also, one last thing: Don’t ever let someone clean their gun while you’re in the room with them as you don’t want to end up missing a leg or worse.