I was driving home from the NRA shooting range on Saturday when I got a call from my brother who lives inUtah. My brother recently graduated from the police academy and spends a lot of time at the range because he thinks one day he’ll be able to shoot like his brother…
Even though he forgets that he still owes me a whopping $5.00 from when I beat him at a shooting competition when he was in town for my wedding this summer. It was actually the day before my wedding and we were supposed to be shoe shopping or something like that. Obviously, a shooting competition was more important than shoe shopping, although when I explained this to my future wife later in the day, to my astonishment, she did not agree.
Anyway, when my brother called me he told me that at the shooting range he frequents, a father had accidentally shot his son the night before. What happened was that at the end of their shooting session the father was getting ready to pack up his gun. He did not unload the gun before he packed it up and as he was putting it into the case he put his finger on the trigger and fired the gun. The bullet struck his son’s hand, penetrating through to his son’s stomach.
According to the news article…
The kid laid on the ground until the ambulance came and he’s supposed to be just fine. Unfortunately, the father has to live with this for the rest of his life, but it’s obviously better than losing a son. (Just imagine how that phone conversation goes with your wife: “Hi honey, I just wanted to let you know that Joe and I are going to be a little late coming home from the range tonight… Because I shot him.”)
The reason this happened is because the father violated numerous safety rules and these are the same rules that I see violated at shooting ranges all of the time. First off, he was packing up a loaded gun. Before you pack up your gun for the day and put it in the case, always unload it. The only time I leave the shooting range with a loaded gun is when it’s on my hip in the holster. If I have multiple guns with me, they’re all unloaded except the one I’m carrying concealed.
Secondly, this father had his finger on the trigger of the gun.
Never put your finger on the trigger until you’ve identified your threat and you’re ready to shoot. When you are packing up a gun at the end of the day you still need to be aware of how you’re handling the gun to make sure your finger is out of the trigger guard.
Lastly, this father was not paying attention to the muzzle of the gun. You and I know that you never point the muzzle of the gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy. In fact, this is probably the most violated rule I see at a shooting range, which is why when I’m coming and going from my own lane at a range I’m always paying attention to those around me to make sure nobody is muzzling me.
The fact is, there are a lot of unsafe people at shooting ranges so not only do you have to worry about yourself following the safety rules, you also have to make sure nobody else is putting your life in danger.