When common sense and firearm safety rules are ignored a negligent discharge can happen and, when it does, people die.
A 16-year-old Houston boy is the latest casualty of the Negligent Discharge Games after he and three teenage friends played with a loaded handgun and the firearm ‘went off’.
The handgun didn’t ‘just go off’ of course. One of the four teenagers pulled the trigger, thus ending their friend’s life.
Did they mean to kill this as-yet-unidentified 16-year-old?
I highly doubt it, but the kid is dead nonetheless.
The four were playing with the loaded handgun in an abandoned home located near Beaumont Highway and S. Lake Houston Parkway in Houston, Texas.
A police spokesman said the boys were skipping school and hanging out in the abandoned house when the teenager was struck by a single bullet to the chest. He was transported to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The sheriff’s office added the victim was hit in the chest and a 17-year-old boy admitted to handling the gun when it went off.
The three remaining teens were released to their families. The case is being referred to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office for potential charges.
Unanswered questions abound, such as:
- Where did the handgun come from?
- Why were these teenagers playing with a loaded handgun in the first place?
- Why were they never taught proper respect for firearms, including safe handling practices and the four fundamental rules of firearm safety?
The Four Fundamental Firearm Safety Rules
- Always treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
- Always keep the muzzle of the firearm pointed in a safe direction.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
- You are not “ready to shoot” unless and until you positively identify your target and what is beyond your target. Only then should your finger touch the trigger.
When These Rules Aren’t Followed Bad Things Happen
Arguably, the most important of those rules is to Keep Your Finger OFF the ‘Bang Switch’.
If you keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot, it’s impossible for bad things like shooting your friend in the chest and killing him to happen.
If you’re going to take possession of a firearm, whether legally or not, unless you want to end up like the dead 16-year-old in this story or the 17-year-old who must now live with the fact he murdered his friend, it’s critical to learn the basics of how to handle a firearm safely.
No matter where you live in North America, obtaining proper firearm safety training is easy to obtain.
As I report daily, many people are arrested for illegal possession of a firearm in Canada alone. The numbers are roughly 10 times higher in the United States.
We’re never going to stop people from illegally possessing firearms, but if we can encourage these people to, at a minimum, learn the four fundamental rules of firearm safety, we will save lives.
And if you’re the person illegally possessing a firearm, you may want to make better life choices. The years in prison you save could be your own. You’re worth it. So is the life of the person you injure or kill, whether you meant to or not.
John Doe says
Much like negligent and ignorant driving which kills vastly more than the rare accidental or stupid use of firearms. Of course vehicle deaths and mayhem do not make for sensational news gleefully exaggerated by the leftist gun grabber supporters in the media..
peter bolten says
there are really not many automobile ‘accidents’… mostly events involving stupidity, inexperience, neglect, disregard, or maliciousness and incompetence’s.
Hey Christopher, I have always been of the mind that there is no such thing as an accidental discharge as these things are commonly called. For them to happen, someone has done something incorrectly or stupidly.
You are correct when you portray them as negligent discharges, because that is what they truly are. Negligence at the very least is, improper firearms handling, and negligence means the person has done something wrong, not the firearm, which is an inert piece of machinery until someone comes into contact with it. Without adequate training, no one should even touch a firearm.
No matter the idiocy of anti gun types, a gun does not kill, or have intentions to misbehave, only people can do that.
Peter bolten says
there are rare events of accidental discharges, many a year back a group of us young 20 something guys went hunting and while assembled at our meeting place after the hunt we were all unloading and handling our various rifles and one of our party’s gun went off and damn near flew out of his hands.
Luckily, we were all assembled in a safe manner and all guns pointed safely… only our ears were a little soar. I don’t remember the model, maybe a Remington 30-06 bolt, but the guy put it away and brought it into a gunsmith and found out this model had that bad track record. He sold it after repairs and got something else.
The other week ago i was at a local gunstore and surprised to see the number of firearms that are used and being sold at ridiculous high prices. Chief among them is a Winchester model 100 1960-ish 4 shot semi-auto 308.
I am familiar with this relic… it is a finicky hard to manipulate magazine extraction, no easy lock back mechanism, history of plugged gas porting, short chambering that can catch a long bullet format without full completion of cocking, broken internal rail, and most insidiously it has an ongoing firing pin recall because of delayed accidental discharges that had taken off some heads somewhere on a firing line a few times in USA.
Boom! And they are asking 800 dollars for this. I mentioned it and the disregard of this advice from young guys at the till is astounding.
Then recently a recall of the armed forces handguns for accidental discharges. It happens.
Moral of the story…follow safety protocols.
peter bolten says
Hello Christopher, timely relevant article.
I quote from you…”Why were they never taught proper respect for firearms, including safe handling practices and the four fundamental rules of firearm safety?”
With that in mind and from what i read of the NFA release [ Rob B video] , maybe Ian Runkle has something of this too, what I read of the long nitty gritty, BC’s Bill-4 is set to make it illegal to invite friends, family, teens, children to the range to safely learn the commandments and joy and satisfaction of safe firearms handling and the benefits of responsible ownership. Youth, friends, family, MUST have a PAL. This is a big negative shift in our culture and a direct attack upon our community.
I suspect that this Bill-4 will also disallow mentored Youth Hunts[ e.g. waterfowl, early open deer seasons] with Club Elders and farmers participating.
This is BAD. And i suspect that we could have the occasional disastrous episode where untrained and uninitiated youth get a hold of a gun with friend[s] and shoot someone without intention of doing so.
I would have to say that our Solicitor general mike Farnworth should be considered complicit in this likely scenario , it is his Bill , is it not, that will open a Pandora box of issues.
Can’t even take an “imitation air gun ” to the woods or paintball park for training. “Causing a disturbance”; criminalizing young people.
Bad. Some politicians need to give their heads a good shaking.
This is what you get for taking firearms safety training out of elementary and high schools.