Preventing Negligent Discharges While Eating at a Restaurant


OMG – Another Tactical Professor rant

Simple TTP to Prevent Negligent Discharges While Eating at a Restaurant

1) Have a decent holster that keeps your pistol from falling out of your pants and use it any time you carry your pistol. Even if you’re just getting out of your vehicle to eat something or put gas in the tank, don’t just stick your gun in your waistband.

2) Let falling guns fall and then pick them up deliberately and without haste. Keep your finger out of the trigger guard as you do so.

If you do have a Negligent Discharge in a public place, don’t try to run out the door immediately. Check to see if anyone has become a casualty.

Note that I generally agree with my colleague Marty Hayes’ comment that most Unintentional Discharges don’t fit the legal definition of ‘Negligent.’ However, someone who is walking around with a pistol stuck in their waistband in such a low level of security that it easily falls out and causes someone else to get injured is being Negligent. That activity can be foreseeable as reckless and likely to cause someone else to become wounded.


Normal day at Cracker Barrel’ ends with shrapnel stuck forever in Charlotte man’s leg [when someone else has a Negligent Discharge and injures an innocent bystander]


A traveling man eating at Cracker Barrel in North Carolina dropped his pistol. According to the police report, the pistol was a .45 1911 Colt. He tried to catch the gun from falling and it discharged. The bullet hit the wall, broke into pieces, and several pieces embedded in another man’s leg.

Image courtesy of Charlotte Observer

The shooter then tried to run out of the restaurant but was stopped by a customer at the cashier’s stand.

A Social Security eligible out of state man from Ohio was the shooter. He was cited and released by local POlice for violating North Carolina concealed weapons law. Whether he had a permit for concealed carry is unclear.

Upon being taken to hospital, doctors recommended the victim leave the pieces of metal in his leg. He said they told him it would be riskier to take them out.


Because he was traveling across several States with a large heavy pistol, the gun was placed somewhere off-body in his vehicle. Serious Mistake. As my colleague Karl Rehn has noted, most people who obtain concealed carry licenses/permits do so in order to keep a gun in their vehicles and off-body in the console or door pocket. Or even worse, if that’s possible, on the floor underneath the floor mat or stuck between the seat and the console.

Upon stopping at the Cracker Barrel, he didn’t holster the pistol but rather just stuck it in his waistband without a holster. It is possible he wasn’t even wearing a belt but that’s conjecture on my part. Then because autoloaders are butt heavy, when the gun came out of his waistband because he was shifting around in the unpadded chair, it fell outside of his pants toward the floor. A point in favor of revolvers in such a situation is that they will slide down the inside of the pant leg like an Unintentional Turd Discharge (UTD) rather than falling rapidly to the floor. Ask me how I know this.

The no longer concealed carrier tried to grab the gun as it fell. His finger got into the trigger guard, as will usually happen when trying to grab a falling pistol, and the pistol discharged. Whether the thumb safety was even engaged when he tried to grab the pistol will never be known.

The shooter’s court date is June 9 for the citation. If he doesn’t return from Ohio to face the charge, a bench warrant will probably be issued for his arrest since it is a criminal charge. Whether the injured man will press charges further has not yet been decided.


1) If your gun is too big and heavy to carry in a holster when it’s not in your safe or arms room, then you need a smaller lighter gun. The 1911 pistol was designed to be carried in a sturdy flap holster on a cavalry trooper’s 2 ½ inch pistol belt or kept in the unit’s arms room. One or the other, no in-between. That’s the other part of “the 1911 was designed to ….” people don’t much talk about.

Image courtesy of FrankD on the CMP Forum

2) If your holster isn’t comfortable for all day carry, including while you are seated for long periods, then you need to get a more suitable holster and/or pistol. Although the platitude “A pistol should be comforting [to carry] not comfortable” is heard periodically, it is in severe conflict with the reality of most peoples’ lives.

3) Practice letting a fallen gun fall to the ground before trying to pick it up. Brian Hill of The Complete Combatant calls this “Rule 5” and I agree with him completely. If you don’t want to practice with your $1000 cool breeze carry pistol, then get some kind of inert dummy gun and practice with it. If you don’t want to spend the money on a Blue Gun , serviceable training aids are available on Amazon. There are training aids available even in the toy section of Walmart, assuming you don’t live in Chicargo where Walmart has decided to close.

This kind of incident makes those of us who are responsible gun carriers look bad. There’s more involved in Every Day Carry of a Deadly Weapon than just buying a gun and sticking it in your pants or purse. Consider the number of incompetent drivers you see who you know should only be riding the bus; not operating a two-ton murder machine.

1) Learn what you need to be able to do, 2) get the proper equipment, 3) practice the skills you need, and then 4) live the lifestyle.

That’s the proper sequence. Don’t be deliberately ignorant and irresponsible.

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5 responses

  1. Jack Feldman

    I wonder what happened to the grip safety? It’d be quite a trick to disable both safeties and pull the trigger by reaching backwards while seated and the gun in midair. I’m betting there’s more to the story, none of it good.

  2. Sorry, the carrier is a moron. Trying to catch the dropping weapon likely led to the grip safety being depressed, and the weapon firing.

    We have a section of the safety brief locally at our steel shoot that says don’t try to catch a dropped gun. I have no doubt it was some long time carrier who would say ‘he knows better’…

    1. I originally wrote a much harsher commentary but the spirit of Abraham Lincoln urged me to consider it overnight.

  3. “Whether the injured man will press charges further has not yet been decided.”

    Victims do not “press charges.” They sign complaints. Cops/prosecutors bring charges on behalf of their employer, the government.

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