While I’ll vehemently oppose mandating training prior to a gun purchase with unto my dying breath, the truth of the matter is that people do need to learn how to handle a firearm appropriately. More than that, though, they need to practice what they learned. Safe gun handling practices need to become ingrained in each gun owner to the point that you can’t screw it up.
Amateurs practice until they get it right. Professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.
And a story from my hometown illustrates precisely why that needs to be our attitudes with safe handling practices.
A wife was shot by her husband in an Albany neighborhood, according to the Albany Police Department (APD).
There was heavy police presence in the 3000 block of Fernridge Drive, off of Gillionville Road.
The shooting is labeled as an accident while investigators gather additional information in the ongoing investigation, according to APD.
Police aren’t pursuing charges at this time, though they’re not ruling out this actually is more than just an “accident.”
Of course, if it’s not an accident–or, more accurately, negligence–then that’s another matter entirely. However, this also isn’t the first accident we’ve seen in recent weeks, either. Nor, I’m afraid, will it be the last.
And that’s a shame.
Right now, we have millions of new gun owners. I’ve focused on that fact time and time again. Ignorance, after all, is a fertile ground for negligent discharges. However, let’s not fool ourselves. Even experienced gun handlers aren’t immune. In fact, it sure seems like people who carry every day are the ones most likely to have a negligent discharge.
That’s often because familiarity brings complacency. You handle a gun every day and you just get used to it. You might even get away with doing some stupid stuff from time to time, so you get even more complacent. Then, one day, it catches up to you and BANG! Negligent discharge.
With luck, you just put a hole in the wall and do a bit of damage to your hearing.
Unfortunately, not everyone is that fortunate.
I don’t say this to disparage anyone. People make mistakes and, if no one was hurt, we shouldn’t harp on those mistakes. Instead, we should all learn from them. We should learn and do our damnedest to never repeat those mistakes–whether we made them or someone else did.
As we remain locked down, with many people not being able to hit the local gun ranges in some parts of the nation, many of those will start handling their firearms while at home. This isn’t a bad thing. I actually encourage folks to use this time to work on dry firing drills since, well, we can’t do a whole lot more than that, now can we?
Unfortunately, though, this could also mix with people not paying attention to safe-handling practices and create accidents like the one here locally. I’m afraid as this continues, we’re going to see a whole lot more of these. Don’t let you or your family become one of these stories.