[Editor: It's time to bring this one out of the archive and re-post it. Bonnie was spot on when she wrote this and given that there were three negligent discharges as part of Gun Appreciation Day events nationwide, it's time to revisit it.]
By Bonnie Garrett
The first weekend in June my sister and I had the pleasure of attending the Indy 1500 gun show in Indianapolis for Guns Save Life. We drummed up some good publicity for the organization and a good time was had by all.
This was the second gun show I’ve attended this year, and the second time there’s been a negligent discharge.
The first occurrence was, of course, in Bloomington, which was nothing short of a tragedy. Two people were seriously injured and lives have been altered by that single event. With the facts that we have, it still makes us wonder how on earth did that incident even happen.
This time, we know exactly what happened right after the incident.
In my opinion, event management handled it well. Shortly after the shot was fired, management gave an announcement over the intercom detailing what happened and letting us know the dealer who fired the shot was banned for life.
You see, the dealer in question had his own loaded sidearm, despite the prohibition of loaded guns at the show. He apparently was showing someone how to field strip a Glock and in trying to dismantle it, he shot himself in the hand.
We had all already been told that no loaded firearms were allowed in the building. The policy was zero tolerance. You get caught with a loaded gun, you are gone. We were told this many times over the weekend. Easy enough, I thought.
Some might say the situation wasn’t all that bad. After all, despite nearly hitting his infant son and pregnant wife, the only person injured was Mr. Negligent Dealer.
But as it is, I was and still am deeply disturbed, and this is why: How could I possibly go to work on Monday and tell my already gun-shy coworkers, “Yep, there was another person shot at the gun show this weekend. Say, are you ready to let me teach you how to shoot yet?”
I’m embarrassed. We gun owners take great pride in pointing out that the people using guns inappropriately are the criminals, not us law-abiding citizens. But perhaps we all need to reevaluate that notion. Despite the historically low firearm accident rates today, perhaps we all need to revisit basic firearm safety rules for the umpteenth time.
They say familiarity breeds contempt and it’s true as evidenced by a young dealer near our booth we talked with all weekend. On Sunday, he came over carrying a pistol he was selling, finger on the trigger. I called him out on it and his response was a shrug and, “I’m around unloaded guns all the time…”
I wanted to scream at him, but instead I pointed out that the guy who shot himself on Friday was probably around unloaded guns all the time too. All I got was another shrug.
“It’s always a dealer,” I had been told by another dealer right after the Friday gunshot and he was right. Those who handle guns the most sometimes are the most lax about safety.
It’s up to all of us individually to make sure we don’t fall into that trap. No skipping a step in the safety check. Keep the muzzle in a safe direction, and for crying out loud, no pulling triggers just for kicks!
Gun enthusiasts work hard to educate people that shooting sports are safe and fun. Let’s make sure we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot while we’re promoting the benefits of gun ownership.