AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, File

Man Killed In Kentucky Gun Store By Negligent Discharge

In every gun store I’ve ever been in, at least that I can recall, if you ask to handle a firearm, the person behind the counter checks the chamber and hands it to you with that chamber open. That’s something I’ve always liked because it just makes it that much easier to make sure the weapon isn’t loaded.

Over more years than I care to recount, I’ve never seen a loaded weapon in a gun store that wasn’t in a holster on someone’s body.

However, while that might be standard operating procedure at most gun stores, it’s clearly not universal. It seems that while gun stores are generally pretty safe, one in Kentucky had an incident that no gun store wants to see.

A customer at a Kentucky gun store was shot and killed when a firearm accidentally went off, according to Kentucky State Police.
Police said the shooting happened at a gun store in Carrolton on Saturday evening.
Preliminary investigation found that another customer in the store was viewing a firearm for sale when a single round discharged, striking the victim.
Other store patrons immediately attempted life-saving measures until first responders arrived.

The customer is reportedly cooperating with police and no charges are pending.

However, if we’re being honest, that may well change.

At least a couple of people screwed up here, possibly more. One of those is the customer.

Rule One: Treat every gun as if it’s loaded.

While I get this wasn’t intentional or anything of the sort, there was some degree of poor muzzle discipline involved, likely revolving around the fact that he probably just knew it would be unloaded. Even in a gun store, treat the guns as if they’re loaded.

That said, he’s far from the only one who bears some responsibility, at least in my opinion. The clerk who handed him the gun needs to account for why the chamber wasn’t opened prior to handing the gun over. If he’d done that, the round would have been discovered and while everyone’s pucker-factor would probably have pegged at maximum, no one would have gotten hurt.

Then we have whoever put a round in a firearm in a gun store in the first place, assuming it wasn’t the clerk who handed the gun over to the customer who pulled the trigger. I mean, why would you do that? Why would you allow that to happen inside of the store where there are so many guns it’s likely you’d forget there was a bullet there in the first place?

I mean, if I were on the other side of the counter, I’d be worried about a round in a gun being used on me if no one else. 

In short, this is a cascade of failures, one that could have been stopped at several points along the way. Had any of the parties done just a little better, none of this would have happened.

And for the record, I do not fault the customer for pulling the trigger in and of itself. I want to know what the trigger pull is going to be like before I buy a gun, so I get that. I just figure there’s a safer direction to do so than pointing at another customer.

So charges aren’t pending, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that change.

As for the customer who pulled the trigger, though, I suspect charges won’t be necessary. He will probably feel the weight of what happened for the rest of his life and that will be worse than anything the state could do to him.

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