Gun Safety

Setting aside why you really need to bring your loaded handgun to Walmart, just why do we have all these cases of people dropping, bobbling, bending over and having their gun fall out, strike the ground and discharge into someone’s arm, leg, butt, etc.? Police virtually always have a holstered gun on them. And you really seldom ever hear of one of them having this happen. TPM Reader AZ has some thoughts on the matter, tying back to TPM Reader SG’s question about criminal liability

Your reader’s question about “accidental” discharges of firearms and the responsibility of the person carrying the gun requires some more detail.

I should say that my contact with guns was in my time as a soldier in the Swiss military. One of the things they drilled into us was that whenever we moved with the weapon (an assault rifle) the safety catch had to be on–to prevent accidental discharges.

In the heat of a shooting exercise that included running from one position to another and shooting from both (or similar) you may forget to set the safety catch, but after some training it becomes automatic. I suspect that cops are drilled in a similar way which is why their weapons hardly ever fire unintentionally.

The safety catch is a very simple and thus very reliable mechanism which is why never fails–unless someone manipulated the gun in some way. You can rely on this: In all these cases the catch was not set: People were carrying loaded and unsecured guns. It seems to me that this fits easily the definition of criminal negligence.