While virtually all gun owners act responsibly and ethically with their guns, sometimes "that guy" can't do either. We call them squirrels in our concealed carry classes. Anyway, one of these squirrels nearly killed himself with a negligent discharge during a medical office visit in Peoria recently.
The man carried a Cobra .38 Special derringer loose in his jacket pocket during a visit to a Peoria medical practice. Now, I also visit the same medical center, part of the University of Illinois School of Medicine. One of the senior medical docs there is a good friend and I also like my soon-to-be pulmonologist who's doing her fellowship under him.
This practice, as an Illinois resident might imagine, has multiple Illinois "no guns" signs posted that are impossible to miss. But "that guy" ignored them. And he carried a little pistol, ready to discharge at any moment by simply bumping against something.
The incident happened about 8:45 a.m. Monday at OSF HealthCare Illinois Lung & Critical Care Institute, 1001 Main St.
According to the report, the man had just completed his appointment and was receiving paperwork from a nurse. As the man was donning his jacket, the nurse heard a loud pop.
She asked the man what happened, and he said his gun had gone off, the report stated. He then asked her to call an ambulance.
At first, the nurse believed the man was joking, but then she saw blood on the floor, according to the report.
After officers arrived, they found the gun — a .38 Special Cobra Derringer — in the man’s jacket pocket.
Why would anyone place a gun like that loose in their pocket? Who knows. He apparently didn't think it would discharge without being cocked first. Note those first three words: "He didn't think."
The man told police he had knocked the gun against something while he was putting on his jacket. He believed the gun wouldn’t fire unless it was cocked.
He also told officers he didn’t know why he had the gun in his pocket, the report stated.
He didn't know why he had the gun in his pocket? Did he know where he was? Did he know what day it was?
The story I got when I talked to the medical staff differed somewhat from the news article. While the tech took my blood pressure, she told me what happened with mild amusement.
She said her fellow tech went in to update this guy's medication list upon his arrival to the examination room. As they talked and she entered the changes, this guy's jacket fell to the floor. The pistol discharged with an incredibly loud pop (go figure). Seems the round went through the base of the chair and struck our irresponsible gun owner roughly at the base of his right butt cheek.
Initially, the medical staffer didn't see or feel any new perforations, but then her patient asked her to call for help. At first she seemed incredulous that the round had hit him from below. But sure enough, he had ruined the chair and a perfectly good pair of pants.
Fortunately for our hero, the round missed his femoral artery by millimeters. "Otherwise he might have bled to death before he made it to the ED," my tech added.
If someone had to get hurt, frankly I'm glad it's the man who carried a non-drop-safe pistol fully loaded, without a holster of some sort, but in a coat pocket.
I refer to this guy as an irresponsible gun owner because this story could have had a very different ending. That round could have popped off in any number of directions, endangering plenty of innocents, including me and mine.
Not only that, but his gross negligence gives a black eye to about 350,000 Illinois concealed carry licensees.
Under Illinois law, carrying a firearm into a posted location with a carry license is a misdemeanor. The first offense is punishable with a $150 fine and they can't take your gun or your license. However, given the circumstances here, I wouldn't be surprised if the Illinois State Police didn't make him an offer he couldn't refuse.
The Illinois State Police are expected to review the man’s FOID eligibility, the report stated.
He had a negligent discharge and someone suffered serious personal injury through gross negligence while unlawfully packing heat. I doubt ISP will "review his FOID eligibility" unless he's mentally unfit. More likely they'll pull his concealed carry license. And frankly, I don't think most existing CCW holders will rush to defend his right to act in such a reckless manner.
While I advocate for all good guys to have the ability to carry a firearm for personal defense if they so chose, not everyone should carry a gun. Those who have shown themselves mentally unsound, intoxicated or criminally inclined fall into that category. And this fellow stands as another pretty good poster child of those we don't want carrying in public.