A teacher at an elementary school in Utah failed to handle her weapon correctly as she handled her business, and almost died as a result:

A Utah elementary school teacher who was carrying a concealed firearm at school accidentally shot herself in the leg when the weapon discharged in a faculty bathroom shortly before classes started Thursday morning, officials said.

The teacher at Westbrook Elementary School, in the Salt Lake City suburb of Taylorsville, was severely injured when the bullet entered and exited her leg, and she was rushed to a hospital, Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley said. She was in good condition and alert at the hospital by midmorning, Horsley said.

No other faculty or students witnessed the shooting, but they might have heard the gunshot or seen the teacher as she was taken out of the school to the hospital, he said.

Classes were continuing as usual, and crisis counselors were available, Horsley said.

Officials were still investigating how the gun discharged. “This just appears at this point in time to be an accident,” he said.

He wouldn’t release details about the woman or what she taught, but he noted she was carrying the weapon legally with a concealed-firearm permit.

The mainstream media is making a big deal out of this incident—and deservedly so—because the negligent discharge that followed the teachers’s intentional discharge suggests that she was not very safe in her gun handling in a public school.

A pistol rod in a shooting range restroom
A pistol rod in a shooting range restroom safely holds your pistol while you answer nature’s call. The dual rod arrangement is marked “9mm” and “.45.”

Unfortunately, the problem of what do do with your handgun when nature calls is not something typically addressed in concealed carry courses, and there have been a several incidents of negligent discharges in recent years as a result. They all seem to result from people using a holster design that doesn’t hold the gun firmly when the (typically flimsy and improperly sized for the holster) belt and pants are undone, prompting them to unholster the weapon and attempt to hold and manipulate it while in a compromised position, since most pubic toilets don’t have a place where you can safely place your firearm (like a shelf) while using the facilities.

While the article doesn’t explicitly say so, it is probable that the negligent discharge in this incident happened as the teacher attempted to reholster her pistol while trying to pull up or hold up her pants at the same time.

My advice to concealed carriers who carry a concealed weapon for any length of time is to find a holster design that will safely retain your holster “should the need arise,” and barring that, find a holster that detaches easily enough that you can take the gun/holster package off together so that the triggerguard remains covered, greatly reducing the opportunity for a negligent discharge. Very few places outside of shooting ranges are going to have a place where you can safely place your pistol until you are done doing what you need to do. It is your responsibility to figure out how to look out for Number One while going… well, you know.