There’s something kind of fun about shooting somewhere that’s not a formal range. Ranges owned by someone else often have rules that might make a great deal of sense, but they can also be a bit of a buzzkill. For example, none of my local ranges will let me shoot tannerite. Others might not let you rapid fire or draw and fire. Some of these rules get in the way of good training, so a patch of ground you can shoot at can be welcome.
However, you also have to be careful, as evidenced by what recently happened in Arizona.
It’s a point of pride for Buckeye, the Valley’s westernmost city. Outdoor enthusiasts travel from all around to take advantage of the untapped desert, where paved streets return to dirt roads and trails wind around the mountainous terrain.
It’s where hundreds of target shooters and ATV riders recreate every weekend. It’s also where 24-year-old Kami Gilstrap was struck by a stray bullet Sunday that ended her life.
About 24 hours later, bullets rang out roughly a mile northwest of the Miller Road exit of Interstate 10, as 50 or so shooters fired at targets, cans, boxes and jugs of water.
Most of the shooters lined up along the southern side of Tonopah Salome Highway — which is a dirt road — and stationed their targets against a mountain that blocked Interstate 10 from sight.
What happened on Sunday is nothing less than a tragedy. There’s really no other word for an innocent woman being killed by someone’s carelessness, and that’s pretty much what happened.
Rule four of the famous Four Rules is to know your target and what’s beyond it. Someone failed to do just that.
Honestly, it’s pretty obvious just from the story.
Ortega and his group were puzzled by the death. He said almost everyone shoots toward the mountain where there’s no risk of hitting someone.
Some of them were shooting toward the highway, while others shot near the trails where people were using all-terrain vehicles.
Look, I’m fairly sure the average Bearing Arms reader doesn’t do stuff like this. People who spend a fair bit of time discussing Second Amendment issues are also people who are going to hear the Four Rules ad nauseam. They generally know not to do stuff like this.
But this tends to fall onto what I like to call the “casual shooter.” These are the people who have a gun and like to shoot but don’t really do much studying or reading on the subject of firearms or firearm ownership. They also generally either don’t pay attention to things like the Four Rules, or they’re overconfident in their expertise on the topic.
Unfortunately, either of those cases could have resulted in this poor woman’s death.
We have enough to deal with from anti-gun jihadis who want to infringe all over our constitutional rights. The last thing anyone needs to do is be an idiot. Even if no one gets hurt, it still empowers the gun grabbers. If someone does get hurt, then it’s so much worse.
Now, an innocent woman is dead because of carelessness. There’s just no excuse. None.