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Old January 14, 2014, 02:17 PM   #1
SC4006
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Have the "cleaning my gun" accidents been happening in your state?

Recently in New Hampshire we've been having a lot of accidents it seems involving people trying to clean their guns. In the past maybe 6 months or so, we've had at least three of these accidents. The most recent one happened not too long ago, and I have a link to a news story that explains what happened. But basically a guy is trying to clean his gun, and accidentally fires a shot that goes across the street, into a neighbor's house, through a few walls, and eventually hit a man on the head. The bullet was slowed down enough that it didn't cause injury.

News Story

As far as the other two I mentioned, one of them was a man trying to clean his pistol, but ended up shooting himself in the foot. The other was similar to the news story I linked, a man was trying to clean his rifle when he accidentally fired a shot that went across the street into someone else's house, didn't hit anyone.

I just don't get how these things happen, it's just so stupid. Even my mother who knows next to nothing about guns commented on how easy it should be to check if a gun is unloaded before handling it. I think these people do more damage to the image of gun owners than the most radical anti gunners, especially when the media jumps all over stories like these. I'm just glad that in all of these cases, nobody was seriously hurt.
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Old January 14, 2014, 02:50 PM   #2
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I've always assumed that "it went off when I was cleaning it" is really "I was playing with it and had an ND," which people are too embarrassed to admit, as well they should be.
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Old January 14, 2014, 03:15 PM   #3
KMAX
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Quote:
I think these people do more damage to the image of gun owners than the most radical anti gunners, especially when the media jumps all over stories like these.
It seems that the media jumps on any negative story involving a gun these days. I was listening to the radio a few minutes ago and in the hourly 3-5 minute segment of news I heard about two shootings that I believe would not have been reported on the radio just a few years ago. Maybe it is a "jump on the bandwagon" thing. Maybe it is not news if it is not bad. There are instances of good uses of guns being reported, but they are far outweighed by the negative reports.

I don't recall hearing about gun cleaning accidents lately, but this is Texas and we are pretty gun friendly. Plus, accidents are not that much news to us.
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Old January 14, 2014, 03:28 PM   #4
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I've always assumed that "it went off when I was cleaning it" is really "I was playing with it and had an ND," which people are too embarrassed to admit, as well they should be.
Pretty much. Who cleans a loaded gun anyway? Kind of hard to clean the bore and chamber with a loaded round it the way, eh? Kind of hard to clean the action/slide, etc. with the gun together and a round in the chamber, too.
Never understood the whole 'got shot in the head while cleaning their own gun' thing. You've got to be seriously negligent for that to happen. It's usually not like it's one little 'oopsie.' You have to be negligent enough to have the gun loaded, safety off, muzzle pointed towards your body, and then pull the trigger.

These idiots make responsible gun owners look like idiots, and it sickens me. This is why we can't have nice things, because the idiots screw it up and then G-Man thinks they need to add laws or take away guns, to fix it.

My friend's cousin recently shot himself in the head with a .22LR while playing with it in his house or 'cleaning' it. Everyone kept calling it an 'accident' I wanted to chime in and correct them, that it wasn't an accident it was negligence, and he was irresponsible with his firearm, which is why he's now brain dead in a coma, but thought it'd be in bad taste. It's sad when it happens, but you can't really blame anyone but yourself for mishandling a tool so grossly.
Cleaning a loaded gun is like cleaning a running chainsaw. They're both tools, and you need to take safety precautions while using and maintaining them.

Last edited by JD0x0; January 14, 2014 at 03:35 PM.
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Old January 14, 2014, 03:30 PM   #5
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This is a major pet peeve of mine. We have had a "I dropped my gun and it went off," a "I just picked it up and it went off," and, the big one, "I was cleaning it and it went off' every few weeks around here.

The last 3 "cleanings" that I remember involved two were a guy claimed to be cleaning a pistol and shot a round through the floor and into the apt. below. The third was a guy went out to get in this car and found a bullet hole through his garage wall and into the driver's door of his Mercedes. Police traced the trajectory to a neighbor's house. Wife said her husband was cleaning his gun the night before and it went off. All of these have occurred in a mid-size town over the course of a little over a month. All within the city limits and no charges, fines, or anything.

I don't believe this stuff for a minute. Problem is that it makes it sound like firearms are alot more dangerous than they actually are. I wish the media account would just say the gun owner was negligent and carelessly handing the firearm.

I agree with one of the above comments that these accidents are more likely to result in stricter gun control for the purpose of public safety than any thing the traditional anti-gun crowd can do.
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Old January 14, 2014, 04:24 PM   #6
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Suicides have historically been considered shameful, so it's easy to see why people want to hide them or do not want to believe it was a suicide. Also, you can't collect insurance if it's a suicide. And non-gun people don't realize how improbable the lie is.

People that have HD's don't want to admit to being stupid, so they lie and call it "cleaning my gun." We all know the truth, but it still makes us look bad.

Every one of these stories make the news. If someone has an accident with a chainsaw or other tool or machinery, it doesn't, unless other people are hurt or killed. So compared to "acceptable" accidents are there really that many ND's?

We are constantly hurt by "perception is reality" and this always helps the anti-gun people. This is their greatest weapon.
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Old January 14, 2014, 05:31 PM   #7
SC4006
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I have to say I agree with everyone's responses. I'm sure most of the "cleaning my gun" accidents are really just cover ups to something stupid, that's kind of why I put that in parentheses.

I'm sure in some instances, the person really was going to clean their gun. Take the guy who shot himself in the foot with his pistol for instance. I don't know what kind of pistol it was, but if it was a glock that might explain it a little bit. If I am not mistaken you have to pull the trigger on a glock in order to push in the release buttons and take the slide off (I know almost nothing about glocks). He could have forgot to check the chamber, and pointed the gun down at his foot while pulling the trigger to take the gun down.

No matter how these accidental discharges happen though, it's just so simple to check the chamber.
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Old January 14, 2014, 05:58 PM   #8
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None in my area since an incident that happened 4 or 5 years ago. Seems a guy was cleaning a .357 revolver on his front porch. (Yea, right.) It discharged, went into his neighbor lady’s house, and the bullet landed on the elderly woman’s lap as she was knitting.
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Old January 14, 2014, 07:42 PM   #9
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Accidents with guns are at a historic all time low.
The numbers are lower than at any time since they started tracking firearms accidents in the 1930's.
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Old January 14, 2014, 09:33 PM   #10
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But news coverage of accidents is probably at an all time high.
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Old January 14, 2014, 09:34 PM   #11
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I go to pt because I almost pinched my finger off and they said a gunsmith almost destroyed his hand shooting himself with a pistol. Said it didnt even look like a hand anymore
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Old January 14, 2014, 09:59 PM   #12
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While I'm sure the media is covering these stories more frequently for their own agenda, it may also be that the apparent surge in new firearms owners has influenced these ND's. People that were in such a rush to arm themselves that they didn't take the time to research what they were getting, how to use it, or how to be safe with it.
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Old January 14, 2014, 10:39 PM   #13
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I haven't heard of one around here in many years. Maybe no one cleans their guns in this neck of the woods.
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Old January 15, 2014, 12:04 AM   #14
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if there is an increase im sure it would be directly related in the jump of new gun ownership snce 2011, people who buy their first gun love to play with them, my first gun was a hipoint 9x19 carbine, i shot out my front window on the first day playin with it like a damn fool
i was young and had never handled a firearm, my family never had guns, and i just didnt consider the ramifications of treating it like a toy and of course, i already thought i knew everything there was to know after a few hours of owning it

thankk god nothing awful happened that day and have never had an accident again and quickly learned the basics of simple gun safety, but there was still no excuse, and i still think about that incident almost everyday, especially since i lived in a subdivision and it could have been the end of someone elses life and my own in that split second of carelessness

im not one to advocate more regulations on firearms, but i wish there was a simple answer to get new gun owners the basic knowledge that they need without the government using it as a tool to further restrict ownership, the easy answer is, of course, teach your children firearm safety when they are young, but most families would see that as child abuse these days and many parents have never handled firearms themselves

and i dont see public schools teaching a basic course anytime soon

so, does anyone have any ideas on how to get critical saftey training to those who just brought home their first gun? w/o getting on that slippery slope of infringing on our rights? maybe harsher punishments for negligence, or maybe the shopkeeper being required to give a fifteen minute safety course after a puchase? i dunno, its a tough issue to solve

again, im never one for more regulation on gun ownership
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Old January 16, 2014, 12:22 PM   #15
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You can't fix stupid...

like the fellow says...

NO law, rule, or regulation will do this. You simply cannot make all people do what they ought to do, without coercive force. Some percentage of the people will always either simply ignore sound advice or believe they know better.

Once upon a time, gun safety was often taught at schools. Many schools had rifle teams (smallbore) and had rifles stored on the premises. That's a far cry from today's "gun free zones".

A lot of our nation's youth attended a Hunter Safety Course by the time they were 14. For nearly 100years the only mission of the NRA was to promote gun safety and marksmanship.

It is ironic that in a nation that has become so obsessed with safety that gun safety is denigrated or even ignored, because so many people have been trained that guns are "bad" and "dangerous".

People who believe this find it better, in their eyes, to have nothing to do with guns, at all, including the basic concepts of how to safely handle them. Then they cry about accidents and those "accidents' that aren't accidents but are caused by ignorance or outright stupidity. They will fall into a fit of concern about a child not wearing a bicycle helmet, but refuse to have a child taught how to check to see if a gun is loaded, or even to be taught not to point the muzzle at themselves or others. And at the same time, video entertainment teaches kids the opposite, daily.

This is the world we live in today. In some ways, we are better off than we were in the past, but in other ways, we aren't.
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Old January 16, 2014, 12:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
Accidents with guns are at a historic all time low.
The numbers are lower than at any time since they started tracking firearms accidents in the 1930's.
Is that total number of gun accidents, or per capita rate?

If that is a "total number of accidents", that would be amazing, as there are more guns, and more people with guns, than ever. Some of those guns are bound to be in poor mechanical shape, and many of those shooters are inexperienced .....

True, professional training is more common today than it was even 20 years ago, and hunter safety is now mandatory nearly everywhere ...... I am sure that has done much to reduce the rate and severity of accidents ...... but with the sheer number of first time gun buyers, and people new to CCW, I would think the raw numbers would be up, though the rate would be down.

Anybody have hard numbers?



OTH, it is not "news" when tragedy doesn't happen: You don't hear the bubbleheaded bleach blond who comes on at 5, telling you about the 30 thousand flights yesterday that did not crash, with a gleam in her eye ..... to hear the denizens of the televisor tell it, commercial flight is deadly dangerous, when statistically, you have to fly every single day for over 100 years to even be involved in an airline accident, let alone be killed in one.
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Old January 16, 2014, 03:28 PM   #17
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There are a lot of new gun owners with little or no training or experience. They are much more likely to handle their weapons negligently. Also, with the widespread purchase of "idiot proof" Glocks/Sigmas to people who are apparently idiots, the requirement to pull the trigger before disassembly makes NDs more likely too.
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Old January 16, 2014, 05:02 PM   #18
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Many, many years ago (~1979) a guy that lived nearby fatally shot his wife in the head while she was in bed with his .38 revolver.

He used the "I was cleaning my gun and it just went off" defense, and even though it happened at 1:00am, after he came home drunk, he got off on a manslaughter 1 charge. She was a nice lady who had been senselessly murdered by her abusive husband.

Ever since that incident I have never bought the "I was cleaning my gun and it just went off" line.
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Old January 16, 2014, 07:38 PM   #19
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Labels sometimes reflect agendas.

A girl was shot a few years ago and the shooter claimed he was cleaning his gun when it went off without touching the trigger. The girl's family dismissed the shooter's story and claimed it was a racially-motivated murder. The grand jury did not indict the shooter and the family suddenly switched to support the shooter's claim 100% as it became critical to their lawsuit against the manufacturer claiming a flaw in the gun.
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Old January 16, 2014, 09:32 PM   #20
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Right, because it was Remington's fault the rifle was loaded.
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Old January 16, 2014, 10:08 PM   #21
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I suspect that the appearance of an increase in "cleaning my gun" accidents is more of a reflection of the media's reporting trends than anything else.

The members of the media seem a lot like my dog when they report on some issues. He can ignore a toy for weeks, then he will notice it, nudge it, paw it, grab it and shake it until you would think his head would come off, then lose interest and move on to something else. Likewise, the media can latch on to a topic and get into a self-reinforcing loop of reporting.
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Old January 16, 2014, 10:41 PM   #22
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I think there's something to the "media making a bigger deal out of it" because we have so much more reporting today. But most of the local stuff I become aware of is in the newspaper's police report section. These accidental discharges rarely if ever involve charges being brought but they show up on the police report and the paper prints that everyday. The first several minutes of the local tv news is about the same stuff only more regional than local.
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