Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How many times do you check the status of your gun?"

By Dave Dargo

"Instructor shoots student in gun-safety class"

From the story:

"A firearms instructor accidentally shot a student while teaching a gun-safety class on Saturday in Fairfield County to people seeking permits to carry concealed weapons.
Terry J. Dunlap Sr., who runs a shooting range and training center at 6995 Coonpath Rd. near Lancaster, was demonstrating a handgun when he fired a .38-caliber bullet that richocheted off a desk and into student Michael Piemonte's right arm."
Wow!

When we teach we prohibit ammunition in the classroom. Not all schools do and it's a practice that reasonable people have debated.

However, even with that prohibition in place we still adhere to the first rule of gun-safety:
All guns are always loaded.
In the classroom, much of what we demonstrate is done with "blue guns" which are pieces of plastic designed to resemble guns.

However, there are occasions when a real gun is required in order to demonstrate something, e.g. trigger reset. We have a staging platform in the instructor's area where we keep guns that the instructor may use for such demonstrations. These guns are laid out on a mat and two instructors confirm they are unloaded. Just before class starts and after each break the guns are examined again by two instructors. Even with that checking, each time a gun is picked up from the mat for demonstration purposes the lead instructor confirms it's unloaded and has another person, either another instructor or a student, come to the front of the room and confirm the gun is unloaded. At that point we consider the gun safe for a demonstration but will still absolutely refrain from covering anyone with the pistol.

Our rule in the classroom is that every time a pistol is picked up it is checked. Some students are surprised but generally appreciative of our practices. I can be demonstrating with a cleared pistol, set the pistol down for two seconds and when I pick it up again it gets rechecked.

These practices are important whenever anyone is handling a handgun, not just instructors. At home you need to have the same attention to detail whenever you are handling a firearm. Always pick it up the same way. Always perform a condition check and make sure the gun is in the state you want it to be in; either loaded or unloaded.

Do not deviate from these practices lest you end up committing a negligent discharge of your firearm.

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