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Old December 7, 2011, 04:39 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: June 16, 2008
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 10,822
Adding a "fifth" rule to firearm safety

This is reference to an incident that happened in our local Law Enforcement

Read Friendly fire: You have to have a subscription for the whole article to come up.

Basicly, a supposed firearm instructor was working on a department firearm, it says doing maintance but not what the maintance was. What happened he pulled an empty magazine out of the to be worked on pistol. Then he removed a loaded magazine from his duty pistol and laid it on the table. He then mistakenly put the loaded magazine in the Maintained pistol and it discharged into the break room next door.

I added a "fifth" rule, Never clean or work on a firearm when ammunition with live ammo in the area.

Normally I don't second guess incidents if I'm not there or am not in the investigation of the incident, but this is different, my step daughter was in the room next door.

I don't know Glocks, maybe they have to have a magazine in the chamber to drop the hammer. But you still have to rack the slide to get it to chamber a round.

Anyway here is a letter I wrote asking for more firearms safety training for the safety involve. I know in the department I worked for, I'd be in quite a bit of trouble. This guy, gets nothing but a new room to work on firearms.

So opinions, does my letter cover my points on this incident?

Letter to the Editor: Ref: Gun fired in Law Center Dec. 8th 2011
I address this not to condemn anyone involved but in hopes of preventing future incidents.

I’m a retired police officer from an out of state agency. Part of my duties was a firearms instructor, and was certified by the Alaska Police Standards Council as such. A certification which is still valid as I still instruct both LEOs and Civilians in firearm use and safety.

Some points to consider: There are Four Basic Firearms Safety Rules, which if followed no accidents resulting in injury could occur.

1. All Firearms are treated as being loaded.
2. Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction
3. Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot
4. Always be aware of your target and background

However, after reading the article, I wish to add another. You never work on any firearm with ammunition in the work area.

I do believe a firearm safety training session should be provided to the officer involved. I’m basing my assessment on the News Letter General article. I wasn’t there.

Several if not all of the above four safety rules (plus my added fifth) were violated.

1. The gun was loaded. You don’t need a round in the chamber to function check a service pistol. According to the article, the officer inserted a magazine into the pistol to function check it. I don’t know what pistol was involved, some require a magazine into the pistol before it can be fired. It is not necessary that a round be chambered for the hammer to fall. I can’t understand from the article how the round got into the chamber. It has to be manually loaded by racking the slide.

2. Had the firearm been pointed in a safe direction, in this case the ceiling, it wouldn’t have endangered anyone in existing rooms (there was no indication anyone was in the adjoining room but I’m not sure if the officer knew this.) A round through the roof would create less danger to others than a round through the wall.

3. Unless the pistol was defective, it could not have fired unless the finger was on the trigger.

4. See #2

5. The rule I added, if the loaded magazine wasn’t in the area, or remained in the officer’s pistol in his duty belt it could not have been accidently inserted in the other pistol.

Again I write this not to condemn anyone, and am thankful no one was injured. I do believe a firearm safety program should be provided. I write this in hopes others, Law enforcement officers and civilians alike, take into heart the Four Rules of Firearm safety, and if you clean or work on firearms, add the fifth rule.
Kraig Stuart
USAMU Sniper School Oct '78
Distinguished Rifle Badge 1071
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