Serious Mistakes – Unintentional Discharges (Part III)

Teen finds mom shot to death after stray bullet hits her in her sleep

Police said the 22-year-old neighbor told them he had an ‘accidental discharge’ while he was loading [sic] his firearm. His attorney, Jeff Sliz, said his client was cleaning his 9 millimeter pistol at the time.

‘He didn’t have the magazine in it, but he was cleaning it and apparently there was a bullet [sic] in the chamber and it accidentally discharged and went through the wall,’ Sliz said.

My colleague Chuck Haggard made the comment: “I see people using random walls as a ‘safe direction’ way too often.”

I believe it was Mas Ayoob who said many years ago that the only reasonably ‘safe direction’ in an apartment or motel is the bowl of a terlet. The combination of water, porcelain, and pipes are far more bullet resistant than two sheets of drywall. Shooting it would be a mess but less likely to kill someone else than sending a bullet through a wall into an adjacent unit..

The man who fired the shot has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct. Odds are that he will do some prison time. So much for the idea of joining the Navy and becoming a diver.

It’s hard to imagine what life will be like for the son who found his mother dead. Let’s face it, a close range bullet wound to the head was probably an ugly wound. That’s a psychological scar that will be with him as long as he lives.

This is an example of why I believe the commonly taught sequence of ‘magazine out then clear the chamber’ is incorrect. I lock the gun open first thing, then remove the magazine, and finally visually and physically check the chamber for no ammunition. The magazine is not the source of ammunition, it’s the source of follow-on ammunition. The chamber is the source of the fireable ammunition and should be dealt with first. But that’s just me.

There are so many Negative Outcomes that will result from one Serious Mistake. It’s very sad.

Click on the image to purchase my book Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make.

3 responses

  1. People who are both stupid and can’t judge distances, get a Drivers License. Result – 10’s of thousands of traffic deaths every year. Similar for firearms, people who are stupid and lack mechanical skill/ability operate a very dangerous, by design, tool. Also, holsters with a very open trigger guard would not force a finger (possibly gloved) to push against the trigger, resulting in a leg wound. Never-the-less, ‘experts’ insist upon a holster that covers the Trigger Guard. Perhaps a compromise holster with a big opening at the trigger guard, and a sliding trigger cover after the gun is holstered. Glock may be right, offering a pistol that is “Perfection” to the point of not needing cleaning…ever. Then, the cleaning accident would have been avoided. etc., etc.

  2. Randel Edmonson

    Agreed wholeheartedly.

    Here’s another one for you. It’s from personal experience, and no one was injured. I had a .22LR Erma Luger auto pistol back in the ’80s, and was shooting some cheap over lubed rounds. For some reason, I didn’t finish the mag, and went to the house to empty and clean it. Well, as luck would have it, a live round was stuck in the chamber. The smart thing to do would be to go outside and discharge the round. But, being young, stupid and strong, I gave the toggle a hard yank. The extractor came over the rim and I lost grip on it. The toggle & extractor went forward over the rim, causing a negligent discharge. Blew the bedroom window out, and bullet went into the deep woods. Luckily, there were no neighbors and trees were dense. Lesson learned! If the slide doesn’t come out freely, I take it deadly seriously.. .22 rimfire can be just as lethal as bigger calibers. Windows are cheap, lives are not

    So that’s my story for you. Keep up the great work! Randy

  3. When I was a poor rookie copper and living in apartments I used my vest as my safe direction, there was nothing else I had in an apartment that would stop a pistol bullet or a shotgun blast.. One can easily replicate this habit more cheaply nowadays with the common availability of various inexpensive plate carriers.

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