Negligent discharges happen. They happen because people forget or ignore how to handle a firearm safely. As a result, people can get injured or even killed.
However, when such a thing happens, there’s usually only one person being shot. If the gun handler is lucky, the person shot is them. If not, well…that’s why we have rules about handling firearms.
Yet a Georgia man’s negligent discharge over the weekend was one of the strangest I’ve ever seen.
Four people were shot and injured after a gun went off Sunday at a Walmart in Lovejoy, police said.
The shooting occurred about 12:20 p.m. when a customer inside the store along Tara Boulevard shot himself in the leg after mishandling a gun, police said. The bullet then ricocheted, striking three other people, according to authorities.
According to police, the armed man, identified as 29-year-old Michael Walton, did not have his gun secured in a holster while it was loaded.
None of the injuries are considered life-threatening and Walton is facing charges of reckless endangerment.
It should be noted that while Georgia is a constitutional carry state, it doesn’t require firearms to be carried in a proper holster, which is likely another charge Walton will face.
As for the incident, I was going to say Walton was lucky no one was killed, but if your negligent discharge shoots not just yourself but three other people, I don’t think anyone can honestly describe you as “lucky.” Still, had anyone been killed, his own injuries would be the least of his problems.
Then again, after lawsuits that are likely to be coming, he may not feel the same way.
Look, carrying a firearm is your right. Georgia, as a constitutional carry state, recognizes that.
Yet when you exercise your rights, it’s incumbent upon you to exercise those rights responsibly. That means making sure your firearm is secured in a holster in such a way that a negligent discharge cannot happen.
Any failure to do so should be treated harshly. We all should support such harsh treatments as well because this jackwagon made us all look bad.
Yes, this is a freak occurrence. While ricochets happen, it’s not common for something like this to injure four people. That doesn’t really matter, though, because Walton’s failure to exercise his right responsibly led directly to this incident.
It’s all on him.
As such, he’s looking at up to 12 months in jail. Where he’s fortunate, though, is that reckless endangerment is a misdemeanor charge, meaning his screw-up won’t put his right to own firearms at risk.
Of course, after the lawyers get through with him, he may not have the resources to even think about buying a gun again. After all, while he’s unlikely to sue himself, the other three victims likely feel very different toward the man.
And I can’t exactly say I feel sorry for him.
I won’t say I’ve never made a mistake, but when it comes to guns, you can’t afford to risk such things. There are best practices that we all know. Make use of them and don’t be an idiot.
Otherwise, the next freak negligent discharge I write about might be yours.