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Concealed Carry

Reviews   Towns Served

How do people get killed by so called unloaded guns? Have you ever thought that this was possible? It is possible and happens, sadly, on a fairly frequent basis, it is in the news from time to time, but it does not have to happen. People are quite often killed by ‘unloaded’ guns. The reoccurring  theme is, “I thought it was unloaded”! Foolish and sad.

It can go something like this….. One day Jon buys a .38 caliber revolver at the local gun shop, he has always wanted to buy a handgun, and this one just feels right in his hand, the price is right also, so what the heck. Next Jon brings it out to a dirt pit in the woods behind his house with a friend, they run quite a few rounds through it, they have a good time. Jon puts it away in the house and forgets about it for awhile……. A couple of months go by and Jon has invited a group of friends over for a house party, no special occasion, just a get together.

When people get together like this, oftentimes the ‘toys’ will come out of the woodwork. We may want to show something off that is kind of unusual, that is simple human nature. Guns easily fall into this category. People are particularly drawn to firearms, they appear to be excellent “show and tell” material. Jon gets the .38 caliber revolver out of his bedroom and takes it into the backyard where the grill and music are in full swing, the beer is flowing, and the party is underway. Hey, he says, anyone want to check out my new handgun? Hey Scott, check it out, its unloaded…..and the safety is on, here take it Scott, take it! Everyone in the backyard heard this, as Jon had to speak loudly over the music, and now they are all looking directly at Scott, some egging him on to take the gun. The peer pressure is real, and starting to effect the situation. Scott thinks, what the heck, I will take a look at it, Ive never held a real gun before, this could be cool. Then Scott thinks, Jon said it was unloaded, even said the safety is on, what could be the harm? So he takes it from Jon.

Now, it is inevitable, that once a gun is in the hands of someone that has never had any sort of  firearm training, the first thing they seem overwhelmingly, inexplicably, inclined to do, is to put their finger on the trigger, next they want to test the ‘theory’ that the safety is on, and that the gun is unloaded, simultaneously. Scott  points the gun playfully at someone in the group to test these two ‘theorys’. Susan sees Scott pointing it at her and says to Scott not to do that! Scott laughs, “its not even loaded, watch” he says, and pulls the trigger, BANG! Susan drops to the ground with a hole in her chest, the gun hits the floor immediately afterward, dropped by a stunned and confused Scott! The first thing out of Scott’s mouth is, I thought it was unloaded! Jon says, oh my God! I thought it was unloaded! All this combined wisdom from Jon and Scott will never change the fact that Susan is now tragically dead, killed by an “unloaded” gun,  she will be dead for a very long time. Jon evidently did not even understand the fact that a common revolver has no external safety. Jon and Scott will now have to pay the heavy legal consequences for this ‘accident’. Susan’s family and friends will never fully recover emotionally from the loss of Susan, ever.

How do you avoid a terrible scene like this? Firearm education is the first critical step. Common sense plays a huge roll, I like to think that we all have common sense, the key is to engage it before you act, that is the key, think about what your doing before you do anything with a firearm. Take your common sense for a walk around the block once in awhile, exercise it! You NEVER take anyone’s word that a firearm is unloaded, EVER!     THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN UNLOADED GUN!!  Treat them all as LOADED!! THAT IS THE ‘MINDSET’ EVERYONE NEEDS TO EMPLOY for firearm safety! The only time your finger should EVER connect with the trigger of any firearm is when you intend to shoot the firearm, for no other reason, it is not a ‘resting’ place for your finger!! There is a ‘trigger guard’ around the trigger, (that little circle of steel) I don’t call it a trigger guard, I do not think that is a serious enough description, I call it THE CIRCLE OF DEATH, when a finger enters that circle someone could die due to foolish actions, keep your finger OUT of that circle of death if your not going to actually shoot the firearm!!! If your not going to actually shoot the gun you never just ‘ride’ the trigger with your finger, EVER!

Think about it this way; pretend that your very own mother comes home one day with a handgun, a revolver for instance. Now we all know that our mothers love us dearly and would never want to see any of their children ever get hurt, they would do anything in their power for their kids, most mothers are ‘hard wired’ that way. With that in mind, your mother comes home with that handgun and wants you to see it, she is quite proud of it. Look what I bought she says, check it out , as she tries to hand it to you. (I’m sure we can all picture our mothers doing something like this right?….) Well for the sake of making my point we will all pretend that she comes home and says exactly that. Should you take the gun from her and look at it?  No, you should not. You should say to your very own dear mother, whom you know loves you, look ma, could you please just show to me that the gun is technically unloaded first? And because she is your mother, she will not have any problem with that very simple request. She will quickly reach over and push forward the cylinder release button with the thumb of her right hand, and at the same time she will deftly push the cylinder open from right to left with the middle finger of same right hand, openly exposing the now obviously, (technically) empty cylinder for your inspection. Now that you are satisfied that the gun is indeed technically unloaded you may take it from your mother to ‘check it out’, observing muzzle discipline, (pointed in a safe direction) and treating it just as if it were loaded…..(proper mindset).

The point that I am trying to make by using ‘dear ole ma’ in the example is this; If you are going to make your very own dear mother, whom you love, show you that the gun is unloaded before you will accept it from her,  you will NEVER give anyone else privilege’s that you would not give your own mother! Not Joe Blow who you hardly even know, or the head of the NRA, nor anyone else in this entire world would you ever give that privilege! Understand? If someone is not willing to show you that a gun is unloaded, then you are not willing to take it from that person, period!

Remember, there is no such thing as an unloaded gun! Have I mentioned that yet? That is the mindset you must ALWAYS have to handle them safely! I know that there will be ‘wise guys’ who will say, ‘how can I clean it if it is always loaded?’ to them I say I am talking about developing a mindset for a fully INTACT firearm, if it is broken down into parts for cleaning then clean it, if you pretend not to know the difference, why are you pretending? Grow up.

People who handle firearms the most can actually become more susceptible to accidents as they become lackadaisical around them, they become ripe for an accident. Always give firearms the respect they demand, your first mistake could be someone else’s last breath on earth. Guns do not give fools a second chance very often.

Sometimes people with a high level of firearm experience can get ‘lazy’, over confident, are even more susceptible to accidents, when that happens they become ripe for an accident. And I will go so far as to say they don’t take firearms as seriously as they once did, they need to pause and ‘regroup’. They have become a distinct danger to themselves and others with that lackadaisical mindset. To make the point, even police can accidentally shoot themselves, for stats see these links:

{Note: I will continue with some more ‘Gun Sense’ in my next few blogs for your awareness, please pass this information on to those you know and/or love. Remember: Firearm Education Will Save Lives, Firearm Ignorance Can Take Lives. Sincerely,

Mark Shean, About Me

Former NRA Law Enforcement Firearm Instructor-

Reviews   Towns Served  Gun Sense #44, KSG 12ga. Shotgun Demonstration  written 7-1-2009

Your comments/insight are welcomed.

4 Responses to “Gun Sense #2, Killed by an ‘unloaded’ gun? Can this happen?”

  • Juanita Pattillo says:

    Excellent article. Could
    Save many lives if we
    Keep the mindset,there is
    No such thing as an unloaded

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  • Mark Shean says:

    Yes we certainly could! Thank you for mentioning the article.

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  • Bob says:

    In my opinion it should be 100% impossible to be killed or injured by an ‘unloaded’ firearm. In 43 years I have never had a negligent discharge and I certainly have not been surprised by a stray shell in a shotgun when going to clean it. It just doesn’t happen. I am a firm believer of the 4 rules of firearm safety….and if everyone learned those rules and used them always, I wouldn’t be making this comment!!

    Think about…. a female politician said, “many times people are killed by unloaded guns” “unloaded”, not “thought to be unloaded” There are idiots making the gun laws that intelligent people need to abide by, how stupid is that?

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  • Mark Shean says:

    Thank you for your input Bob. If everyone treated firearms as loaded at all times accidents would end, why would you do anything foolish with a ‘loaded firearm’, guns do not give fools a second chance. The main theme in every story were someone accidentally shoots someone is “I Thought It Was Unloaded, Oh My God”!! Now its to late, they did not have the proper mindset.

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