How many gun rules did he break for this to happen?

A shooting range employee was hospitalized after accidentally shooting himself in the hand Monday, police said.

Police went to the Garden State Shooting Center around 4:30 p.m. to investigate a shooting victim, according to a statement from Detective Lt. Gregory Staffordsmith posted on the police department’s website.

“Upon arrival emergency personnel learned that a 61-year-old employee from Neptune had accidentally shot himself in the hand while retrieving a rental gun from a storage cabinet,” Staffordsmith wrote.

The bullet went through the man’s left hand and he went to a hospital in Brick “where he is expected to make a full recovery,” Staffordsmith said.

“At the time of the incident, there were several customers, including two young boys and at least one other employee in the area,” Staffordsmith said. “Thankfully no one else was injured.”

Someone at the range stored a rental gun with a round in the chamber (Rule 1), which is a safety violation and likely against company policy (storing guns “hot” at home is a matter of discretion).

He covered his hand with the muzzle of said loaded gun (Rule 2), put his finger on the trigger (Rule 3) and pulled the trigger (Rule 4).

It was clearly the employee’s fault for violating rules 2-4. It isn’t known if he’s the same employee who failed to clear the chamber of the handgun before returning it to the storage cabinet.

There’s a saying shared among in the gun industry (among others where safety is paramount) that “complacency kills.” People become overconfident start cutting corners on policies and procedures, and they get away with it… for a time.

Unfortunately, if you keep breaking safety rules it will almost always catch up with you, and I’m confident that this employee was probably not shot committing his first major safety violation… though maybe I’m wrong.

Reconstructive surgery and physical therapy to repair the damage is going to be a long and painful process, and there is no guarantee that the employee will ever regain use of his hand.

Be careful every time you touch a firearm, folks, and don’t let complacency put you in a position where you negligently discharge a round into yourself or someone else.