Category Archives: Safety

Handbag Carry: Just Stop Doing It. Now.

As fans of the female shape (on females, of course; don’t look for us to go the way of Bruce Jenner anytime before the Sun goes nova) we’re sympathetic with women’s complaints about fit and comfort problems with conventional designed-for-dudes holsters.

But we’re not so sympathetic that we’re about to sanction handbag carry. It’s a great way for a carrier to get separated from her firearm, which is bad enough. But even worse, this can happen:

Elizabeth Green’s 3-year-old son, Marques, died at a hospital June 11 shortly after the shooting woman in Hamilton, about 30 miles north of Cincinnati. The mother told an emergency dispatcher amid screams that he apparently took her handgun out of her purse.

Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser said a grand jury heard evidence in the case before deciding not to charge Green.

“The sheer enormity and permanency of this loss to the mother far exceeds the power of the state to punish the mother for her inattention under circumstances that should have been obvious to her,” Gmoser said in a statement.

At least Mr Gmoser managed to bring the investigation and grand jury to a close pretty quickly — it’s not unusual to see a case like this drag on for years, hanging like the Sword of Damocles over a person who’s already shocked, bereaved, and feeling incredible guilt.

On a word-nerd aside, it’s nice to see someone using the word enormity in its traditional sense; not just “really big” but “really horrible.” But it’s beyond awful that something like this ever had to happen.

In most cases where a kid whacks himself, or a playmate, with mommy or daddy’s gun, the state piling on doesn’t really serve an articulable public purpose, unless you’re the sort of state’s attorney who believes that your self-aggrandizement is the highest of public purposes.

The investigation was necessary to determine the circumstances surrounding the boy’s death and any criminal conduct that may have been involved, Gmoser’s statement said. He said the investigation confirmed the boy died accidentally from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his chest and the mother failed to secure the firearm from her purse, where it was kept for her self-protection and found by the child.

via No charges for mother whose 3-year-old killed self – CBS News.

We’re not lawyers, but we’d guess that there’s a lot of jurisdictional variance here, and a lot of shaded area between the white of simple negligence and the black of criminal culpability. Reasonable people can disagree about whether to prosecute the gun owners in cases like this.

It’s unlikely anyone will disagree that this was a terrible tragedy, of the sort that should be avoided.

Yes, it’s hard to make a service pistol, a female form, and womens’ fashions fit together. And handbag carry is a temptation that just sits there smiling at you. When it reaches out to you, remember that the same convenience seduced Elizabeth Green. It’s impossible to imagine what effect this one single error — that she may not have known was an error, even though she’d had training — and the resulting tragedy has had on her now, and will have on her for life.

Don’t make it possible for a story like this to be about you. 

Thinking About Safety

Larry Vickers is thinking about safety:

larry-vickers-appendix

 

Hat tip Miguel at Gun Free Zone, who wonders if one of the mishaps Larry’s writing about is this one. You can click the link if you like (and it’s a good tale of real-world first aid), but for most of you, the illustration will remind you what can go wrong with appendix carry.

7-June-2015-Burro-Canyon-Gunshot-Wound-Incident

That cat was danger close to living to collect the usually posthumous Darwin Award, but apparently the projectile did not connect with anything vital in his junk. Good luck, though, explaining that scar to dates. (“Go ahead and kiss it. It’s just a chancre!” probably won’t fly).

Instructor (and aidman) Stan Lee’s conclusions:

Briefing of the four firearms safety rules is of course a given, after that the first aid/gun shot wound treatment and medical evacuation plan should be thoroughly briefed as if an emergency incident had already happened to you.

He then runs through an emergency kit and emergency plan. It’s a good idea, for reasons we’ll cover in half a moment.

Someone should be able to brief all of the above in detail. That someone should be with the party from the beginning to the end. I think it’s acceptable to have the GSW kit centralized but extra credit points for wearing it.

Stan learned his first aid in the Navy. All the services teach much better and more effective first aid than they did when old dinosaurs like Tom Kratman and I went in, and even better than my old unit had on our first Afghan tour. Didn’t happen to our battalion, but in and around our time, other SF units lost guys because they exsanguinated, or developed tension pneumothorax, and the non-medics on site weren’t skilled enough to treat them. (Well, that, and medevac was weak until 2004 or so — too few frames and crews, and it’s a big country). That would never happen now; even support units get pretty decent combat life saver training.

Still, it’s a lot better to use your superior weapons handling skills so as not to have to demonstrate your superior first aid skills.

Stan makes another point (and another reason to Read The Whole Thing™ on Miguel’s site) in that simply briefing safety rules and plans at the start of a class is a Real Good Thing. In aviation, we found that when aircrews began briefing an instrument approach procedure-by-procedure, the number of errors (and mishaps) declined. In airborne operations, we found that when airborne units started doing a formal, stylized prejump briefing that everybody (especially devil-may-care skydivers) laughs at, the number of errors (and jump injuries) declined. It’s great that an American paratroop officer can command his battalion, regiment or division from a wheelbarrow pushed by one of his privates, but he’d probably rather not go down in history for that. 

IWB and particularly Appendix Carry holsters introduce risk factors that are not present in an old-fashioned outside-the-waistband holster. (We also think that schools’ focus on quick-draw engagements is usually misplaced). You can have an accident with any holster, but unless you’ve got a lot of experience, choose one that adds minimal risks.

 

As Larry notes, if you use a safetyless (“trigger safety”, “safe action”, anything that would have scared the horse out from under a 1909 cavalryman who had the grip safety added to the 1911) firearm you need to be extra careful about holstering and reholstering. Or, well, look at the picture.

Now, you can choose any firearm, and every one has its own risk factors. You can operate any handgun safely (we do not believe Larry has ever had an ND in God-knows how many Glock rounds), but you have to know it and its properties and operate it either with your mind on it 100%, or with skills drilled and drilled until you’re always, instinctively safe with it.

ND-shot-in-footAs the graphic we usually use with safety posts says, if you shoot yourself in a training class,  “Your [sic] Doing It Wrong.” Like this fellow in the ‘burbs of Orlando, Florida:

23-year-old man accidentally shot himself during a gun safety class at a pawn shop, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

It happened at Instant Replay Pawn Shop and Shooting Range on Colonial Drive between Dean and Rouse roads, said Lt. Paul Hopkins.

The gun went off accidentally and the bullet grazed his leg, Hopkins said.

Amazing how this guns just “went off.” No wonder newspaper guys all want to ban guns, they think of them as malevolent presences, stalking training classes and firing ranges, bent on bringing their primordial evil to bear on their hapless bearers.

Of course, that’s all bosh and nonsense. They’re simply machines, slavishly obeying the laws of physics and the input human operators apply to their user interfaces. In all history, the gun that “went off accidentally” is rarer that a comet sighting. He should admit he “set it off accidentally.”  He, too, is going to live.

He’ll probably never make that mistake again. But you know, we’re supposed to be able to learn from his mistake, rather than only learn from our own.

Tam Goes in for Quick Kill… Involuntarily

So there she was at a shootin’ school, and her trusty M&P inspired, shall we say, “trust issues” by shucking off the upper half of the rear sight.

Hey, as we’ve demonstrated with our Quick Kill reporting, you don’ need no stankin’ sights at pistol ranges. Still, they’re kinda nice to have.

Basically, when the slide assembly reached the rear limit of its travel, the back half of the sight decided it wanted to keep going and it had enough inertia to do so. I don’t recollect it actually hitting me, but always wear eye pro, kids! .

via View From The Porch.

Thinking about the physics of it, a rear sight ejected from the rear of a firearm is unlikely to hit the eye. Because even as it moves eyeward at a speed equal to recoil speed minus the velocity lost shearing the molecular bonds inside the (probably metal injection molded or sintered) sight, it’s also seeking the center of the earth at 32 feet per second per second (unless you’re outside the USA, in which case it does it at 9.81m2.

So you’re more likely to take it on the chin, cheek, or shooting vest, than in the eye. That’s why actual eye loss from such catastrophic dumbassery as firing 7.62 Tokarev ammo in an old Broomhandle is quite rare. The broomhandle bolt breaks the dummy’s cheekbone or knocks out a few teeth, instead of sailing through the orbit and turning his not-too-splendid brain into mush.

And back in the days of Broomhandles, they had never heard of metal injection molding.

How to Make a Revolver Go kB!

There’s the old double-charge. Since this late, lamented Colt Anaconda is… er, was a .44 Mag (which is hard to double-charge without obviously spilling powder) a more likely explanation is an oversized load of something fast-burning.

Overconfidence + Handloads + Revolver =

colt-anaconda

The Anaconda is a rare piece, rare enough that it isn’t even mentioned in R.L. Wilson’s doorstop, The Book of Colt Firearms (2008), but it was introduced in 1990 as the first large-frame Colt DA since the discontinuation of the New Service to enable war production in World War II, and discontinued in 1999 as a result of weak sales. Leftover parts were assembled into more Anacondas by the Colt custom shop. It has a reputation as an extremely strong .44 Magnum gun (especially the Kodiak model, which dispenses with cylinder flutes).

Another Way to Blow Up a Revolver

Then, there’s a short-cut to blowing up a black powder revolver: load it with smokeless powder. Imagine a load that that beefy Anaconda could have survived, transported back in time to a Civil War .44. It isn’t going to work, is it? It would be like coupling a modern 5-liter Mustang V8 to the planetary transmission of a Model T — for one bright shining moment, you’d be your state’s largest distributor of transmission parts. That’s what one European shooter did by loading smokeless powder in his revolver.

This video, from the outstanding Hungarian-based YouTube channel capandball.eu, shows the before-and-after of a Remington 1858 replica.

It could have been much worse: only one chamber of this revolver-turned-grenade was loaded. One thing to note is how much thinner the chambers of a cap and ball Army .44 are, than of the modern Colt seen shredded above.

It is not an exaggeration to say that whatever sprite of caution kept the shooter from loading all cylinders quite directly saved his life.

It’s interesting to see the failure modes in these guns. If you look at them carefully, you can see that while the metal near the point of detonation shatters, other metal then peels, bends or flexes, ultimately failing in tension as it is stretched in directions its designers never envisioned.

Steel, the principal material from which we built guns, seems indestructibly solid, but when forces exceed its plastic strength it will deform, and when forces exceed its ultimate strength it will fail. Q.E.D.

Suppressors: 40-state-legal; two more “Maybe Soon”

Last time we looked at suppressor legality, it was up to 37 of the 50 United States. (They’re banned in DC and all the Territories if memory serves).

But that was months ago, so it was time to check again, just in time to learn that Minnesota, which banned suppressors for many years, legalized them, becoming State #40 to allow citizens who comply with the Federal National Firearms Act to own them.

asa_edu_map_0522151

Even Minnesota’s anti-gun, anti-2nd-Amendment governor, Mark Dayton, signed the bill.

A similar bill is on Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin’s desk. It is a very small change in the laws in this idiosyncratic, left-libertarian state. The current provision of Vermont law is almost laughable in its lack of consequences for the violator:

Section 4010. Gun silencers A person who manufactures, sells or uses or possesses with intent to sell or use, an appliance known as or used for a gun silencer shall be fined $25.00 for each offense. The provisions of this section shall not prevent the use of possession of gun silencers for military purposes when so used or possessed under proper military authority and restriction.

But its real effect is that NFA Branch will not license suppressors to Green Mountain State residents because of this state law. (We have not ever heard of a case of 4010 being enforced). Nobody knows what Shumlin will do. But if he signs the bill, Vermont will make 41.

Iowa has an omnibus gun-rights bill wending its way through the legislature, with both the Senate and House having approved different versions. It is a mix of good and bad, extending the duration of (but not eliminating) purchase permits, and creating an electronic owner-registration database, the purpose of which is to help anti-gun law enforcement agencies and officers in places like Maryland and New Jersey to harass out-of-state travelers. But it also legalizes suppressors and turns CLEO signoffs into a must-issue item. It is likely to change again before enactment (if it’s enacted at all). But with the suppressor language, Iowa could be 42. The Iowa Firearms Coalition has updates.

In addition, legislation was filed in Illinois this year, but seems to have perished. It will be back next session.

If those states pass, the only states west of the Mississippi to ban suppressors would be California and Hawaii. Several Northeastern states such as NY, NJ, DE, RI and MA remain holdouts, and the other New England states are still behind on permitting suppressed hunting, which is otherwise allowed in almost all of the states that allow suppressors.

Breaking: More Pistol Pain at the Pennsylvania State Police

Pennsylvania_State_PoliceWe’ve reported in the past at great length on what we’ve called the Pistol OCD of the Pennsylvania State Police (link is to a Google search of Weaponsman for PSP stories, not all of which are pistol-problem-related). They’ve been through more pistol models and calibers in fewer years than any group of two or three statewide agencies you care to name, but they’re reporting a new problem with their new Sig 227 pistols.

They have found that if they load the pistol per spec — 10+1 — they have jams, to be specific, stovepipes. They have directed the troopers to load the pistols 9+1, neither chambering a round to load a full mag, nor replacing a round and inserting a 10-round mag after chambering from the mag.

We haven’t heard of anybody else having this problem with the 227. The New Jersey State Police had such stovepipe problems with Smith & Wesson P99s that they returned to the HK P7M8 briefly before going to… drumroll please… SIGs (in 9mm, in their case).

As we mentioned, this is a new problem. The P227 already has had a troubled rollout at PSP. In an initial introductory class, an experienced firearms instructor had a negligent discharge that struck and killed one of his students, Trooper David Kedra. Later, the instructor, Corporal Richard Schroeter, would be charged with a much lighter charge than a non-trooper would face in such a killing, reckless endangerment. The Kedra family was not amused, but their concerns were blown off in a mealy-mouthed statement byDistrict Attorney Risa Ferman. (Ferman presented the case in such a way as to sway grand jurors to sympathy for Schroeter, so that Schroeter could face a mild misdemeanor, and keep his job). Some details on the grand jury testimony here.

The four other troopers who trained with Kedra on the day of the alleged shooting testified to the grand jury they did not see Schroeter make sure his weapon was not loaded, nor did he show the weapon to two other troopers to show it was unloaded. The presentment said firearms instructors in the Pennsylvania State Police typically show an unloaded weapon to at least two other troopers to verify it is unloaded.

Schroeter is such a class act that he’s refused to even apologize to Kedra’s family. He continues to insist that he checked the weapon and he was sure it was unloaded.

Systemic problems with firearms selection and training? Nah, that can’t be it.

Ironic that the P227 was selected in large part because of a rash of negligent discharges with Glocks soured PSP on the brand in general, and its pull-trigger-to-disassemble procedure in particular.

Previous WeaponsMan coverage of the PSP:

That may not be all of them, but it’s enough to give you a picture of this agency’s gun follies.

This is not a Defensive Gun Use, either

It wasn't his foot this time.

It wasn’t his foot this time.

See if you can follow the whole who-shot-John in all this:

One man from Tuesday night’s downtown Portland shooting remains hospitalized with a gunshot wound to his leg, while the 40-year-old suspect is being treated for an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound to his testicles, police said Wednesday.

An apparent robbery attempt between the two men who were neighbors led to the shooting just before 8 p.m. in the parking lot of an apartment building in the 1400 block of Southwest Park Ave, police said.

During the dispute, the 40-year-old man pulled out a gun and shot the other man in the leg, police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson said. The wounded 32-year-old man ran over to the Safeway on Southwest 10th Avenue and Columbia Street for help. He was later taken to the hospital with a leg injury.

As the suspect fled the scene, he accidentally shot himself in the groin, police said.

via Suspect in downtown shooting being treated for self-inflicted wound to testicles, Portland police say | OregonLive.com.

Yep, John shot John (or whatever the perp’s undisclosed name is), right in the reproductive tackle, right after nailing some other Sumdood for not coughing up his cash. Because “groin” in this case and story is a euphemism for “testicles.”

So now you know the answer to the trivia question, “How can you win the Darwin Award, and live to collect it?” It’s simple: stick your firearm in your waistband gangsta-carry style, and kinetically geld yourself.

Like John (or whatever his name is).

This happened in Portland, OR. We’ve tried to follow up in the Case of the Bullet-battered Ballsack, but the suspect in question appears to be keeping his punctured private parts private.

Winchester SXP Shotgun Recall

We don’t have one of these things, but if we did would be concerned:

Fortunately, Winchester has a recall program for the affected shotguns. They are the SXP or “Super-X Pump” shotgun. If you do have an SXP, check to see if it’s one of the problem guns. If so, check it. First, is it a 12 Gauge with a 3½” chamber? If not, you’re OK (well, your shotgun is, anyway. Only you can vouch for your general okay-ness). If you have a 12 Ga. 3½” SXP, and it’s one of these submodels, you need to get your serial number out and call Winchester.

  1. SXP Waterfowl Hunter, 26″ or 28″ barrel;
  2. SXP Black Shadow, 26″ or 28″ barrel;
  3. SXP Turkey Hunter, 24″ barrel;
  4. SXP Long Beard, 24″ barrel.

If you have one of the affected guns, call Winchester at 800-945-5372 and they’ll take it from there. (Alternately, you can email to SXP@winchesterguns.com). First, they’ll check the serial number against a list they have (they know when they began fixing this on the production line… if you gun is really new, it might not have any problems, or if it dates from before the manufacturing problem began). Assuming Murphy is still your co-pilot and you have an affected firearm, they’ll walk you through how to return your shotgun for inspection and, if necessary, repair. We suggest that you retain the paperwork involved for the convenience of the next owner. (Although he should always be able to call Winchester and confirm that their records show that the fix has been applied to this particular serial number).

Details of the Winchester recall in a .pdf on the official site:

http://www.winchesterguns.com/support/files/images/wfa/2015-All/2015-Recall-Info/SXP_Recall-Notice_2.pdf

The guy in the video (whose name we don’t know) makes an excellent point: this is why we observe gun safety rules and control muzzle direction at all, repeat all times. If this fellow had shot his kid or hunting partner, our first instinct might have been to say, “Yeah, right, sure he had the safety on, and yeah, he didn’t have his booger hook on the bang switch. Riiiight.” But as you can see from the video, this particular firearm could and did discharge with the shotgun on Safe and no finger anywhere near the trigger. Even six sigma quality control lets a non-zero number of defective products through, and even Remington and Winchester, who make millions and millions of safe guns, have shipped a few lemons. Like this one.

The difference is, a lemon Chevy is a problem for its owner (usually a low-budget car-rental firm). A lemon firearm is a matter of

We doubt our readers are big upland and waterfowl hunters, that’s its own thing, but even if you don’t have one of these firearms, the safety message is universal.

Hat tip, Lee Williams. Spread the word to anybody who’s bought a shotgun lately, and make sure the owner of your local gun store knows about it. These shotguns were intended to kill ducks and turkeys for the table, not unwitting hunters.

A Mess of Accidents: April 2015

Item: 6 April 15. Ocala, FL. “It accidentally discharged!”

A devastated Chief Greg Graham briefs the jackal pack

A devastated Chief Greg Graham briefs the jackal pack

Ocala, FL Police Officer Jared Forsyth has died in a hospital after being mortally wounded in a training accident during a routine semiannual firearms training exercise. Chief Greg Graham says (in video at the link, hasty transcription):

At the conclusion of our training, one of our officers was unloading his weapon and it accidentally discharged. The round ricocheted off a bench, and struck another officer, Officer Jared Forsyth, who was standing  — probably 25 to 30 feet away. That’s a guess on my part.

It hit him in his arm, entered his chest… he was transported to the hospital and he didn’t survive his injuries. Out thoughts and prayers are with Officer Forsyth’s family… and with the officer involved in the shooting.

In response to a reporter’s question, a visibly crushed Graham says, “The last line of duty death we had was almost 60 years ago.” An indicator of how the guy who ND’d feels about is Graham’s request, to reporters of all people:

…to lose one officer… I just hope I don’t lose two. So, please, pray for the officers… pray for the one who didn’t survive, and pray for the one who hopefully will.

He’s onto something there. After our unit’s near-fatal ND, a thorough investigation could not determine who, on that live-fire immediate-action range at night, fired the round that penetrated a teammate’s MICH — and skull. Several of the team members thought and feared it had been them. But one guy was sure it was him. (The investigators took his statement down, but couldn’t match the physical evidence to him or anybody).

He left the unit. We didn’t make him.

He was always a drinker. And so, he drank, and smoked, and second-guessed himself to an early grave, leaving behind a devastated family as well as shocked former teammates — including the wounded guy, dealing well with his disability and possessing all his marbles, who didn’t even know the other fellow had blamed himself.

“If I knew, I’d have told him, ‘Stop beating yourself up. You did me a favor! Life is sweeter now.'”

Anyway, there’s just nothing good about the place Chief Graham and the Ocala cops are in now. Been there, done that.

Item: 4 April 15. Indianapolis. The gun did it!

Those guns! You have to watch ’em like a hawk sometimes, or there’s no telling what mischief they’ll get up to:

Crime tape has been strung up in an area around Cavanaugh Hall on the school’s campus. The incident, which was reported as a gunshot, happened around 9:45 p.m. Friday.

Police say the officer was on patrol when his gun accidentally discharged. He was taken to Eskenazi Health, where he was listed in stable condition.

Destination of that “discharge” — Officer Friendly’s own leg.

Lee Paige, call your office.

IUPUI (Indiana University — Purdue University Indianapolis) is the “urban” campus co-owned and operated by IU and Purdue; given its location on 500 mugger-tempting leafy acres in downtown Indy, one can see why the cops might be quick on the trigger. One of ’em got a little too quick, or maybe he was practicing das Gefingerpoken where he shouldn’t ought to.

Or, alternatively, we can believe what the spokesman said, and the gun just “discharged.” Like a teenager approaching Third Base for the first time, or a wayward capacitor.

Yeah, the gun did it. Keep telling yourself that, officer.

Item: 30 Mar 15, Gaffney, SC. Who’s the Turkey?

wild turkeysYou know, a hunter safety course tells you not to do this, even if your common sense doesn’t.

It appears [42-year-old Brian] Gilliam was in a deep ravine on the property and was attempting to climb out of it on unstable rocks when he slipped,” Fowler said. “The muzzle-loaded shotgun discharged, striking him in the right arm and shoulder.”

After being shot, Fowler said Gilliam was able to walk to a clearing, where he was found.

“My investigation indicates Gilliam and a friend had trespassed onto the property together Friday evening to illegally hunt turkeys but later became separated. A flashlight was located in the on position nearby on a tree stump pointing upward. It appears Gilliam used the light to alert his friend of his location,” Fowler said.

via Coroner: Trespassing hunter falls, gets shot by his own gun | Local News – WYFF Home.

Gilliam died of hypovolemic shock, which is to say, he bled out. His poaching pal wins the not-quite-a-stand-up-guy award.  If the friend bugged out, how did poor Gilliam get found? Another news outlet explains:

Coroner Dennis Fowler says the land owner notified authorities Saturday that he had found a body, who was identified as 42-year-old Brian James Gilliam of Gaffney.

Wandering around in the dark, on someone else’s property, with your weapon off safe. (If it had a safety, it must have been a modern muzzleloader — vintage ones depend on the operator’s common sense). At some point it’s more of an “inevitable” than an “accident.”

If you’re planning on hunting like that, don’t. Call us, we’ll send you a jeezly turkey.

29 Mar 15, Dayton, OH: Hold my beer and… hey, this gun does work!

ND-shot-in-footSo, he was “testing” the gun when it jammed. And then…

Police responded to Miami Valley Hospital around 2 p.m. Saturday to check on the condition of a 36-year-old patient with a gunshot wound.

The patient told police he bought a handgun for $150 earlier in the day and wanted to test it to make sure it worked. He said he went to the back of Norris Drive, jumped a fence, and then walked into the woods near a creek. He told officers he wanted to get away from people so he could test the gun.

He said he loaded the gun, but at one point it jammed and when he tried to get it unstuck, he accidentally shot himself. He told police it startled him and he threw the gun in the creek. The victim said he ran to his sister-in-law’s house nearby and she called his wife. His wife then drove him to the hospital.

One suspects the cops didn’t get the whole story. They didn’t find the gun where Deadeye Dick said he threw it. Thus far, he does not seem to have been charged.

The Gun Safety Rules: not just a good idea, you know?

29 Mar 15, Council Bluffs, IA: Who You Gonna Blame, Me or that Lying Holster?

One suspects this was the well-known combination of Serpa and striker-fired gun, but the story doesn’t make it clear.

Marvin Naggatz, 21, was treated and later released at Mercy Hospital for a gunshot wound to his hand, Council Bluffs Police said in a press release.

Naggatz was in a parking lot on the 2300 block of West Broadway at 4:30 p.m. Sunday when he moved his holster. The .40-caliber handgun discharged, hitting Naggatz in the hand.

How do you “move your holster” in such a way as to discharge your firearm? Something’s wrong with holster, handgun, or handler, and we know which one Occam’s Razor says it is.

 

ITEM: 30 Mar 15, Virginia: Legal Guns Threaten Troopers, says Guv… About Cop Killed by Felons’ Negligence

Virginia Governor Terry McAulliffe, one of those guys who “supports the 2nd Amendment, but,” in the specific case of but the 2nd Amendment part, recently vetoed a bipartisan bill that would pre-empt some local anti-gun ordinances. (McAuliffe, a committed gun banner, has vetoed 14 pro gun bills this season). His reason? For the Troopers.

I veto Senate Bill 1137, which … ignores long-established firearm safety procedures and could endanger law enforcement officers in the line of duty. In 2006, a State Trooper was killed while responding to a vehicle crash. As the crashed vehicle was being loaded on a wrecker, the loaded rifle discharged killing the trooper. No one at the crash scene knew that the loaded rifle was in the vehicle.

In using the trooper as a political football, McAuliffe didn’t even give him the slight respect of using his name. His name was Kevin C. Manion. He was 27 and had been a trooper for under three years.

He also makes it sound like the person whose negligent handling of the firearm led to Manion’s death — we, unlike McAuliffe, are not too ennobled to say his name — was some random citizen with a gun in a car and bad gun safety practices. He doesn’t exactly lie, but he misleads. (Well, he is a politician, one who became a multimillionaire via renewable-energy rackets. Sure he lies).

Here are the facts on the Manion accident, from the Officer Down Memorial Page (a great resource for keeping alive the memory of cops who die on duty, whether by mishap or crime):

The automobile accident occurred when a pickup truck went into a ditch and overturned. During the accident investigation a rifle inside the pickup truck discharged as the pickup was being moved. The round struck Trooper Manion in the chest in an area not protected by his vest.

Trooper Manion succumbed to his wound after being flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital in Fairfax County.

The truck’s two occupants were arrested at the scene on alcohol related charges stemming from the automobile accident. Investigation revealed that the rifle had been stolen earlier in the day during a residential burglary. The driver of the pickup truck was subsequently charged with second degree murder, possession of a firearm by a felon, larceny of a firearm, and daytime breaking and entering. He plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter in December 2006 and was subsequently sentenced to 10 years.

Not really the story McAuliffe told, was it? Gee, turns out it wasn’t Suzy Selfdefender and it wasn’t Elmer Fudd on his way to thin the Dominion’s herd of Sylvilagus floridianus either. It was a couple of career criminals who were already convicted felons.

Our shock knows no bounds, eh.

The responsible dude’s still in prison (well, given the weak sisters who populate parole boards, maybe he isn’t, but he should be) but McAuliffe blames you, (and Suzy, and Elmer), not that guy. If VA gets felon voting, he should have that constituency all locked up. (No pun in– ah, you guys will never believe that)

Item: 2 Mar 15, West York, PA: They’re Calling it an Accident

The police called it an accident, and after an autopsy and looking over the range video, they can’t say the shooting range death of 22-year-old Keith Twiford wasn’t. Twiford rented a 9mm pistol and bought ammo, and fired over 50 rounds. No one else was present inside the range, and the camera couldn’t see through the inter-stall partitions, when Twiford suffered a single shot from that firearm to his head.

An autopsy was inconclusive. Twiford did not appear to have a history of depression; he was about to start a new job; and the range has a good, safety-oriented reputation with the local police.

Our local ranges that provide rental firearms have strict rules about new shooters and non-members with rental guns: generally, they have to have one-on-one supervision by a trained safety officer or instructor. This is because a couple of them have had suicides, and the news of a range suicide often generates a flurry of wannabe copycats. Those precautions, of course, are not advertised as such, and they have an additional benefit of ensuring safe practices.

We bet the range owner in West York wished he had something like this in place.

And, if the police can’t make the call, neither can we, on why young Keith Twiford, with a life spread out before him, died. So we’re going to give the young man and his family the same benefit of the doubt the cops did: it was an accident.

Serial Number ID10T: Negligent Discharge Edition

There’s a show on TV somewhere called Doomsday Preppers. Based on the clips we’ve seen, It’s dedicated to the Hollywood proposition that anyone taking measures to be ready for natural or (to use that wonderful DHS locution) “man-made disasters” is (1) an inbred, mouth-breathing moron, and (2) an irresponsible “gun nut.” The actors on the show seem intent on proving these propositions, in the limited set of clips that we’ve seen. In this one, Tim, one of the on-camera “talent” in the show, grapples with the consequences of a negligent discharge:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qth1k962_9A

Unfortunately, the camera picks up the “writing” but is not on time to snag the ND. Still you can figure it out by parsing out the lame excuses: 

  1. 0:10: “Damn thing uh, just misfired on it.” Er, no it didn’t. Misfire is what happens when a gun that is commanded to fire does not.  In this case, the problem was where his left hand was when his right hand commanded the firearm to go bang. 
  2. 0:31: “As soon as Tim’s gun misfired and hit his thumb…” Er, no it didn’t. See above. Well, it did hit his thumb… that we’ll concede.
  3. 0:45: “It was one of those… malfunctions…” Er, not it wasn’t, Tim. Man up. The gun functioned perfectly and did what your trigger finger directed it to do, which was, in this case, blow out most of the bone between the first and second knuckles of his left thumb. Guns are stupid, but generally obedient to humans’ commands. Humans, conversely, are just stupid. Q.E.D.
  4. 047: “My thumb went in front of the barrel…” Gee, no idea how that happened! It just went. Er, no it didn’t. Thumbs generally respond to motor impulses generated deep inside the brain housing group. Yes, it was dumb to do, but you did it, and you’re gonna own it.
  5. 0:49: “…and, uh, it went off.” Funny how guns owned by bozos have this propensity for just going off like that.

Now, this is not mere entertainment TV, where we’re meant to jape at Tim’s buffoonery and chortle at his pain and suffering. (Although it would take a heart of stone not to do that, and we’re not in that much of a granite state that we won’t). This is also meant, by its Hollywood impresarios, to educate and uplift people away from taking care of themselves, and towards Letting George Do It, or, perhaps, these days, Letting Big G Do It. That’s an insidious message, and you would do well to reject it. It is never a bad idea to look out for you and yours.

There’s being prepared, and being a “prepper.”

You don’t need to define yourself as a “prepper” to see the sense in being prepared for interruptions in the just-in-time flow of food, water, fuel, and electricity to your home (not to mention interruptions in Rule of Law). Two nice young Mormons came by yesterday; they didn’t sign us up for Latter-Day Sainthood, but their visit did remind us that their neighborly faith asks its votaries to be prepared, much as the Scout’s Motto does; their people tend to be prepared to weather hard times, even though it’s been a long time since their opponents put their ancestors to the sword and drove the survivors to Utah.

On survival, the best is the enemy of the good. It’s easy to get started by laying in a weekend’s, then a week’s, then a month’s worth of water and food and fuel. You may never need it (a fine thing, yes?), so use things that you can rotate through your daily life, not bizarre “survival” stuff. Interruptions in any normal traffic tend to be short; long interruptions are vanishingly rare. Preparing for a short loss of supply availability (or rule of law) will get you past most probable risks. If we descend into Mad Max Universe, yes, you may need to be like Tim (except, we hope, less stupid — imagine what happens to a guy who shoots his thumb nearly off in a situation without an EMT on hand and an ambulance and hospital on call). But that catastrophic outcome is a highly improbable one. Fire, flood, and extreme weather events are all much more likely than nuclear war or any of the environmental extinction-porn causes that generate over-CGI’d propaganda from Hollywood.

Now for the Gun Safety lesson

ND-shot-in-footThere was a guy years ago who loaded a .45 and put a webcam on it for years, waiting for it to “just go off.” It never did. (I think his hosting company went out of business, which ended the experiment).

However, we bet if you gave an empty, clear and inspected firearm to “Tim” here or to his gang of Dumbsday Preppers, it would not be long before “kaBANG!” echoed across the land, as Tim almost literally realized the last line of Kipling’s brilliant The Gods of the Copybook Headings.

And the lesson there is: guns are machines. It is incumbent on you to master your machine, and not be dictated to by it. Lest you wind up on TV making lame excuses for your lack of opposable thumbs.